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abbe' de solesmes. 


Cantantitnis organis, Coecilia Domino decantabat dicens : Fiat cor nieum 
immaculatum ut non confundar. — Offic, S. Cmcelia, V. A. M. 



FETEK P. CUNNINGHAM, Catholic Bookseller, 

216 South Third Street. 





Entered according to Act of Conrress in the year 1866, by 

PETER F. t.tjnmNGHAM, 

in the Clerk's Office of the Distrct Jjourt of the United States, 

in and for the Eastern, Djrtsirict of Pennsylvania. 

Stereotyped by Theodore Brown, 605 Sansom street, Philadelphia. 


In offering to the American public, a translation 
of the life of St. Cecilia, by the learned and labori- 
ous Dom Prosper Gueranger, the publisher feels 
assured he has made a valuable addition to our too 
narrow circle of Catholic literature. 

The Church offers, in every age, in her Saints, 
Apostles, and Martyrs, brilliant examples of virtue, 
zeal, and heroic courage. While all are holy, there 
are still some, whose lives present features, at once 
so touching and sublime, that time can detract 
nothing from the interest which attaches to their 
names in every Catholic heart. Pre-eminent among 
these, is St. Cecilia, the gentle queen of Sacred 
Song, distinguished alike for her attachment to 
holy Virginity, her apostolic zeal, and the "un- 
faltering courage by which she won the martyr's 

The author has followed with fidelity, the ancient 
Acts of St. Cecilia, the authenticity of which the 
reader will find satisfactorily defended in his pages. 
For less important details, he has claimed the right 
generally accorded to historians, of receiving prob- 



able evidence, where certain proofs cannot be ob- 
tained. On such authority, he has, for example, 
assumed with the learned Bosio and others, that 
the virtues of our Saint formed the crowning glory 
of the illustrious family of Cecilia Metella. The 
recital does not terminate with the death of Cecilia. 
The discoveries of her tomb, in the ninth and six- 
teenth centuries, form not the least interesting por- 
tion of the work. The description of the church 
which was once her dwelling, and the witness of 
her sufferings and triumphs, brings those scenes so 
vividly before us, that Cecilia seems to belong, as 
all the Saints of God most truly do, as much to 
our own day, as to the period when she still com- 
bated on earth. 

We will not speak of the pleasure and instruction 
the author has afforded by his faithful pictures of 
the celebrated Ways of Ancient Kome, and the 
sacred cities of the dead, concealed in the holy 
shades beneath. Fortius, and much other interest- 
ing information, we refer the reader to the follow- 
ing pages, content, if, by our own humble labors, 
we have contributed to the edification of our Catho- 
lic brethren, and to the glory of Him who is admi- 
rable in His Saints. 

The American Publisher. 




CHAP. I. Alexander Severus. His Education. Tendency to Christian- 
ity. Defects of Character 9 

CHAP. II. Dispositions of the Magistrates of the Empire with regard to 
Christianity. Ulpian. Unceasing trials immiuent for the Christians of 
Rome 15 

CHAP. III. Martyrs under Alexander Severus. Situation and solicitude 
of Pope St. Urban. Progress of Christianity in Rome 21 

CHAP. IV. Saint Cecilia. Family of the Cecilii. The Appian Way in 
the Third Century 28 

CHAP. V. House in which Cecilia passed her youth. She consecrates her 
virginity to God. Her parents promise her in marriage. Valerian and 
Tiburtius » 62 

CHAP. VI. Anxiety of St. Cecilia at her approaching union with Valerian. 
Celebration of the marriage. Confidence reposed in Valerian by Saint 
Cecilia 58 

CHAP. VII. Valerian repairs to Pope Saint Urban. He is baptized. His 
return. Arrival of Tiburtius 68 

CHAP. VIII. Interview of Tiburtius with St. Cecilia and Valerian. His 
conversion and baptism 75 

CHAP. IX. Alexander Severus leaves Rome. Violence exercised aeainst 
the Christians. Valerian and Tiburtius are summoned before the Prefect 
of Rome. Interrogatory of Tiburtius...., 89 

CHAP. X. Interrogatory of Valerian. The two brothers are condemned 
to death 96 

CHAP. XI. Conversion of Maximus, Notary of Almachius. Cecilia's inter- 
view with her husband and brother. Martyrdom of Saints Valerian and 
Tiburtiui 108 



CHAP. XIT. Martyrdom of St. Maximus. Almachius sends for Cecilia, 
and urges her to sacrifi>e to the idols. She refuses and converts the 
Envoys of the Prefect. The Virgin appears before the Tribunal of Al- 
machius HO 

CHAP. XIII. Interrogatory of St. Cecilia 117 

CHAP. XIV. Martyrdom of St. Cecilia 124 

CHAP. XV. Martyrdom of St. Urban. Pontificate of St. Pontxanus. Death 

of Alexander Severus 131 

CHAP. XVI. Zeal of the Roman Pontiffs in collecting the Acts of the 
Martyrs. The Memory of St.. Cecilia preserved in the Church of Rome. 

Her Basiliaa . 139 

CHAP. XVII. Compilation of the Acts of S. Cecilia, in the Fifth Century, 
in their present form. Motives of this compilation. Canon of Pope St. 

Gelasius upon the use of the Acts of the Martyrs 150 

CHAP. XVIII. Testimonies of the Liturgies of the West in favor of the 

Acts of St. Cecilia 158 

CHAP. XIX. The Appian Way from the Fourth Century to the Ninth 167 

CHAP. XX. Events relating to St. Cecilia and her Church throughout the 

Seventh Century 176 

CHAP. XXI. Events relating to Cecilia and her Basilica throughout the 
Seventh and Eighth Centuries. In the Seventh, the bodies of the Martyrs 

are disentered and translated to the Churches of Rome 189 

CHAP. XXII. Discovery of Cecilia's body by Pope St. Paschal 198 

CHAP. XXIII. Translation ot the bodies of Saints Cecilia, Valerian, Tibur- 
tius, Maximus, Urban, and Lucius. St. Paschal' s munificence towards 

the Basilica of St. Cecilia 210 

CHAP. XXIV. Confirmation of the Acts of St. Cecilia by the cirum* 
stances attending the discovery of her body. Digression upon the Relics 

of St. Cecilia 220 

CHAP. XXV. Events relating to Cecilia in her Basilica throughout the 
course of the Ninth and Tenth Centuries. Homage rendered to Cecilia in 

the Greek Liturgy 228 

CHAP. XXVI. Events relating to St. Cecilia and her Basilica throughout 
the Eleventh, Twelfth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Centuries. Venera- 
tion paid to the Roman Virgin in France 234 

CHAP. XXVII. Events relating to Cecilia and her Basilica throughout the 
Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, Homage paid by literature and the 

Arts to the Roman Virgin 246 

CHAP. XXVIII. Cardinal Paul Emilius Sfondrato. His devotion to Saint 

Cecilia. His discovery of her body 262 

CHAP. XXIX Sfondrato acquaints Clement VIII.. with the discovery of 
Cecilia's body. Joy of the Pontiff. Baronius comes to identify the Holy 
Relics 273 



CHAP. XXX. Sfondrato's preparations for the translation of Cecilia's body. 1 

Veneration of Clement VIII. for the Roman Virgin 281 

CHAP. XXXI. Translation of Cecilia's body by Clement VIII 291 

CHAP. XXXII. Confirmation of the Acts of St. Cecilia by the circumstances 
attending the second discovery of her body 297 

CHAP. XXXIII. Sfondrato discovers the body of St. Agnes. His piety 
towards the Mother of God and the Saints. His will and death. His 
epitaph in the Basilica of St. Cecilia 302 

CHAP. XXXIV. The Jansenistic school attacks the Acts of the Holy Mar- 
tyr. Examination and refutation of their arguments 318 

CHAP. XXXV. Continuation of the same subject 333 

CHAP. XXXVI. Events relating to Cecilia and her Basilica throughout the 
Eighteenth Century 342 

CHAP. XXXVII. Events relating to St. Cecilia and her Basilica through- 
out the Nineteenth Century 371 







The ninth year of the reign of Alexander Severus 
had just opened;* the consular fasces were in 
the hands of Lucius Virius Agricola and Sextus 
Catius Clementinus, and for eight years and a half, 
Saint Urban had been guiding at Rome the bark of 
Saint Peter. f Since the death of Septimius Severus, 
who had ordered the fifth persecution against the 
Christians, the Church had enjoyed a peace and 
tranquillity which had already lasted twenty years, 
and was destined to continue seven years longer, 
until the promulgation of the sanguinary edict of 
Maximinus, successor of Alexander Severus. During 
this interval, Christianity had made steady progress. 
Saint Callistus had occupied with honor, the Apos- 
tolic chair, and although his life was the forfeit of 
this perilous dignity, his martyrdom was not a sig- 
nal for a general massacre of the faithful. The 

* This prince had been proclaimed by the army, on the 11th 
of March, 222 ; the ninth year of his reign commenced on the 
11th of March, 230. 

f St. Urban had ascended the apostolic chair abont the mid- 
dle of October, 222. 



death of this pontiff was the result of the political 
jealousy of the Emperors, who dreaded the humble 
majesty of the Bishop of Eorne more than they 
would have feared a competitor for the empire.* 

St. Urban had, therefore, the prospect of sooner 
or later sealing with his blood, the elevated mission 
of presiding over the destinies of the Church, and, 
indeed, he was worthy of such a fate. The holy old 
man did not dread the trial for himself, but he felt 
great anxiety with regard to the flock of Jesus 
Christ ; for, although the days of persecution were 
ever glorious for the Church, they were unhappily 
too frequently marked by the apostasy of many 
Christians. The fears of the Pontiff were based 
upon the well-known character of the head of the 
empire, who, although a clement and just prince, and 
kindly disposed towards the Christians, was weak 
and easily influenced. Alexander was at this time 
in his twenty-first year. His mother, Julia, not 
only loved and admired Christianity ; but it appears 
that she even professed it.f While residing at An- 
tioch, four years before the elevation of her son to 
the throne, she sent an escort of honor to Alexan- 
dria, requesting a visit from the learned Origen, with 
whom she conversed upon the Christian religion, the 

* Such were, as we learn from St. Cyprian, the sentiments of 
the Emperor Decius, who ascended the throne a few years later: 
" Cum tyrannus infestus sacerdotibus Dei fanda et nefanda com- 
minaretur, cum inulto patientius et tolerabilius audiret levari 
adversus se aemulum principem quant constitui Roma3 Dei Sa- 
cerdotem." Epist. ad Antonianvm. 

f Eusebius intimated this in his Ecclesiastical History, Book 
iv. chap. 21 : Orosius, in the 18th chap, of his 2d Book. While St. 
Vincent of Lerins asserts it positively. (Commonit. cap. xxiii.) 


divinity of its origin, and the purity of its morals. 
She received this illustrious doctor with the greatest 
respect, and loaded him with honors.* Mammaea 
superintended herself the education of her son, and 
his contemporaries, as wefl as posterity, attribute to 
her influence his total disrelish for the dissolute 
habits of his cousin Heliogabalus, as well as the 
justice and humanity he displayed throughout the 
course of his life. f This princess directed Alexander 
in all his undertakings, accompanied him in his 
campaigns, and even shared his fate when he was 
massacred at the head of his troops, on the banks of 
the Ehine, in an expedition against the Germans. 

If the policy of Alexander, who was only in his 
fourteenth year when the sovereign power devolved 
upon him, prevented his embracing the religion of his 
mother, he at least entertained for Christianity and 
its divine founder the greatest respect. The Lara- 
rium (oratory) of his palace included, not only the 
statues of the gods, and of the Emperors who had 
been signal benefactors to the human race, but also 
the statue of Jesus Christ, placed there by Alexander 
and honored by him with divine worship. 

His admiration for the Son of Mary was so sincere 
that he even laid a proposition before the senate to 
admit to a rank among the gods, the founder of a 
religion, of which the moral code was so pure. The 
senate desired to consult the oracles upon this im- 
perial fancy, and Lampridius, a contemporary author, 
reports their response to have been, that if this now 
apotheosis were celebrated, the temples would soon 

* Buseb. lib. vi. cap. xxi. 

| Herodian, a pagan historian of Alexander, unhesitatingly 

acknowledges this. Lib. v. p. 571; Lib. vi. 574, 575, Frankfort 
edit. 1590. 


be abandoned, and all the world would become 
Christian.* The maxim: " Do unto others only that 
which you would wish them to do to you," was un- 
ceasingly on the lips of Alexander, and he freely 
acknowledged that he had borrowed it from the 
Christians. He caused it to be engraved on the walls 
of his palace, and on those of the new edifices. 
In obedience to his orders, a herald proclaimed it 
publicly at the punishment of criminals.! Alexander 
gave another proof of his respect for Christianity, 
by confiding many of the offices of his court to 
Christians whom he honored with his favor. Euse- 
bius speaks of the excessive irritation of Maximums, 
on seeing these posts of honor filled by the followers 
of a religion, which he himself so unrelentingly perse- 
cuted.^; An incident, related by Lampridius, and 
which throws great light on the situation of the 
Church in Eome, will serve to show the impartiality 
of Alexander in cases affecting the Christians. In 
the country beyond the Tiber, at the foot of Mount 
Janiculum, was situated the famous Taberna rneri- 
toria, from the soil of which, in the year of Eome, 
718, a fountain of oil had burst forth and flowed 
during an entire day like a mysterious river.g 
Augustus, conqueror of Pompey and Lepidus, was 
inaugurating the era of universal peace, when this 
sign announced to the Eomans the approaching birth 
of him, who, invested with the double unction of the 
Priesthood and of Eoyalty, would descend upon earth 

* Lamprid. Augusta, liistor. Paris, 1620, p. 129. f Ibid. p. 132. 

t Euseb. Histor. Eccles. lib. vi. cap. 28. 

§ This incontestable fact is reported in the Chronicles of Euse- 
bius, and in those of St. Prosper, Idacius, Orosius. Previous 
to these Christian writers, Dio Cassius mentions it in his His- 
tory of Rome. Lib. xliii. p. 383. Edit, of 1G06. 


to be the pledge of the restoration of peace between 
heaven and earth. Under the pontificate of St. 
Callistus, this celebrated edifice, famed for so memo- 
rable a prodigy, passed into the hands of the Christ- 
ians. This pontiff dedicated it as a church under the 
invocation of the Mother of Grod ; since that time, 
Eome honors this sanctuary under the name of St. 
Mary beyond the Tiber.* 

It is not known when the Christians obtained 
possession of a building which had formerly served 
only for profane uses ; but Lampridius relates that 
the popinarii (tavern keepers) complained bitterly 
to Alexander, that a place hitherto free to the public, 
and profitable to them, had been taken from them 
and devoted to the service of a religion, not even 
recognized by the laws of the empire. The good 
dispositions of this prince toward the Christians 
were decidedly manifested in his decision of this case. 

"I prefer," he replied, "that God should be hon- 
ored in this place in any manner whatsoever, rather 
than restore it again to the venders of wine."f Such, 
with regard to the Church, were the dispositions of 
the prince who reigned over Rome and over the 
whole world. Nevertheless, St. Urban, as we have 
before stated, did not feel secure from the violent 
storms which had ravaged the Church even under 
the best Emperors. Trajan and Antoninus had per- 
secuted the Christians, and, moreover, the defects of 
Alexander's character rendered a change possible, 
if not in his interior dispositions, at least in his con- 
duct. Urban could not forget that his predecessor, 

* See Moretti, de S. Callisto Papaet Martyre ejusque Basilica 
S. Marine, trans-Tybei hn nqncupata. Rome, 1752. 
f Lamprid. Alex. vita. pag. 131, 


Callistus, had suffered martyrdom in the early part 
of the reio;n of Alexander, and if the murder of this 
holy Pope could be justly attributed to political 
motives, it was not easy to forget, that, until that time, 
State reasons, as well as zeal for the worship of the 
gods, had dictated the edicts of proscription against 
the Christians. Alexander was opposed to violence, 
but his timidity rendered him very yielding. He 
was known to cringe to public opinion, and to fear 
literary men, lest they should transmit to posterity 
an unfavorable account of his character and reign.* 

His weakness was particularly conspicuous in the 
exaggerated deference he paid Mammaea, to whose 
influence he was constantly submissive. This prin- 
cess, distinguished for her noble qualities, but jealous 
and passionate, exercised complete dominion over 
her son, and, although her advice was generally most 
beneficial to Alexander, it sometimes led him to 
commit grave faults.f. 

It was at the instigation of his Mother, that Alex- 
ander repudiated, and exiled into Lybia, his first 
wife whom he esteemed and loved. Mammaea drove 
her from the palace and forced her to seek refuge in 
the protection of the army 4 Alexander also caused 
Marcion, the father of his wife, to be put to death, a 
fate richly merited according to some historians, who 
assert that the unhappy man had been proved guilty 
of treason. However this may be, the weakness of 
Alexander's character w r as easily discovered by the 
courtiers. Interested and ambitious men took ad- 
vantage of it to prosecute their designs with boldness, 

* Lamprid. Alex. vita. pag. 115. 

f Herodian. Hist. August, lib. vi. pag. 575. J Herodian. Ibid. 


though opposed to his views, yet not without reason 
hoped for impunity, if not for favor. 



If the influence of Julia Mammsea at times induced 
Alexander to act in opposition to the dictates of his 
heart, there was at least no reason to fear that, with 
respect to Christianity, this princess would lead him 
into the path of persecution. But unfortunately 
the bitterest and most formidable enemies of the 
Church had found an asylum in the palace of the 
Emperor, and were favored with his confidence. 
Elevated to the throne at an age when the character 
is still unformed, he needed a council to direct him 
in the art of governing. The members of this coun- 
cil, sixteen in number, were chosen by Mammaea 
herself, and were principally skilful juris-consults, 
who were highly esteemed in Rome. Papinian, 
Domitius Ulpian, Julius Paulus, Celsus, Pomponius, 
Modestinus, Yenuleius, Hermogenes, and Callistra- 
tus, successively formed part of this council, and 
many of them retained their seats several years. 
These legists, adorers of the coercive principle decora- 
ted with the pompous name of Law, that law of which 
they were the oracles, witnessed with profound antip- 
athy, the progress of Christianity, which revealed to 
men the principles of an eternal jurisprudence, calcu- 
lated essentially to modify the mutual relations of 


mankind. A spiritual, and at the same time, cosmo- 
politan society, which rejected the control of political 
power, and propagated itself in spite of all the edicts 
of repression, seemed to them a monster which the 
empire could not stifle too soon. Jurisprudence and 
philosophy united their efforts in repelling the com- 
mon enemy which was advancing so rapidly against 
them, and would inevitably, sooner or later, crush 
them in their own domain, by assigning faith as 
the guide of intellect, and erecting in the conscience 
of each man a tribunal from which lie would judge 
the law. Edicts of persecution had been the sole 
reply to the pretensions of this new society. The 
ferocious autocracy of Nero, the benevolent genius 
of Trajan and Antoninus, the philosophical instincts 
of Marcus Aurelius, had all conspired in the general 
massacre of the Christians. From the very begin- 
ning, the empire felt that it had either to bend under 
the yoke, or conquer by carnage. The personal dis- 
position of Alexander, as well as his education, 
seemed almost a guarantee that the Church, during 
his reign, would not be harassed by any addition 
to the long series of proscriptive edicts against 
the Christians; but the tolerance of the emperor for 
the religion of his Mother, was not so great as to 
banish from the Arsenal of Eoman laws, those weap- 
ons of tyranny, the use of Avhich a clement prince 
would have prohibited. Pagan superstition and 
Eoman policy watched together over the mainte- 
nance of those sanguinary edicts, and Alexander 
dared not brave public opinion, nor expose his popu- 
larity, by revoking them. Lampridius, in a few 
words, perfectly expresses the politic measures of the 


emperor with regard to the Church : " Alexander," 
he says, "tolerated the existence of Christians."* 

Daring this truce, the legists of the imperial pal- 
ace compiled several times the Roman laws, carefully 
bringing together in their compilations the ordi- 
nances which condemned the faithful to death. The 
assessors of Papinian, in his office of Prefect of the 
Praetonum, were Domitius Ulpian and Julius Pau- 
las, two men whose names are as imposing in the 
history of jurisprudence, as they are odious in the 
annalsof Christianity. Daring the reign of Alexander, 
the former published his famous books, De officio 
Proconsulis, in which he collects the different edicts 
of the Emperors against every kind of crime. We find 
there the numerous constitutions which outlawed the 
disciples of Jesus Christ. Lactantius brands with 
eloquent indignation, this sanguinary concession to 
the passions of the Prsetorium,f which rendered the 
reign of Alexander a cruel and cowardly transition 
from the pe secution of Septimius Severus, to that 
set on foot by Maximinus, and which broke out 
immediately after the assassination of Alexander. 
Herod ian andLampridius eulogize in the most extra- 
vagant manner, the virtues and qualities of Ulpian. 
Pagans like himself, they considered it no crime to 
sharpen the sword destined to massacre the Christ- 

* Alexand. vita. pag. 121. 

f Quin etiam seleratissimi homicidae contra pios jura impia 
condiderunt. Nam et constitutiones sacrilegae, et disputationes 
Jurisperitorum legunter injustae. Domitius, de officio Proconsulis 
libro septimo, rescripta Principum nefaria collegit, ut docerot, 
quibus poonis affici oporteret cos, qui so oultorea Dei conlitcren- 
tur. Divin, Ins tit. lib. v. rap xi. 



ians. Moreover, the degree of morality necessary to 
satisfy the writers of this epoch, is well known. 
According to Dio Cassius, Ulpian would never have 
enjoyed the honors of the Praetorium, had he not 
murdered his predecessors, Flavian and Chrestus* 
The blood of the Christians could hardly be more 
precious to Ulpian than that of the first magistrates 
of Rome. Such was the man who exercised un- 
bounded influence over Alexander, and enjoyed to 
an unlimited degree the imperial favor. Mammaea 
at first watched with great anxiety, the influence of 
Ulpian. She knew his violent opposition to Christi- 
anity ; but Ulpian was too politic to solicit new edicts 
against a religion favored by the Mother of the Em- 
peror, and respected by Alexander himself. She 
therefore soon calmed her fears, and even contributed 
towards advancing the fortunes of Ulpian. f 

The tranquillity which had been restored to the 
Church, was destined to be of short duration ; the 
brief respite from persecution seemed merely granted 
to increase the number of victims, who never for a 
moment lost sight of the arena of their brethren^ 
recent combats. The reigns of the emperors were 
frequently short, and even during that of Alexander, 
a favorable opportunity was alone required to give 
free vent to the hatred of the proconsuls, ever eager 
to persecute the Christians. Even a limited knowl- 
edge of the laws of tbe empire at that time, is suffi- 
cient to show how little dependence could be placed 
by the citizens of Rome upon their liberty, their for- 
tunes, or even their lives. Exile, confiscation, or 

* Dion Cass. Hist, pag 917. f Baronius. Annal. ad ann. 225. 


judicial murder, were calamities which often fell 
upon patricians, senators, and even consuls, whilst 
tyranny was exercised against the plebeians — to 
which class the majority of the Christians belonged — 
with the greatest ease and impunity; the law brand- 
ing them as despicable and vile. The perils which 
the Church had reason to dread from the Roman 
legislation, were considerably aggravated by the 
hostile dispositions of a large portion of the inhabi- 
tants of Rome. Tertullian, in his Apology, published 
thirty years before the epoch of which we treat, re- 
marks that in public calamities, or in seditions, the 
multitude never failed to cry out : — " The Christians 
to the lions 1" The mild, but weak reign of Alex- 
ander was more than once agitated by tempests, 
which converted the capital of the world into a theatre 
of carnage, where free vent was given to the violence 
of passion. Even Ulpian, with all his skill and 
power, frequently failed in crushing these disturb- 
ances. His office gave him supreme authority over 
the praetorian guard. This body having displeased 
the Romans, in some trifling matter, war was declared 
against them. The civil contest lasted three days, 
and resulted in many deaths on both sides. Encour- 
aged by their superiority of number, the people 
fought with such success that they were gaining a 
decided victory, when the praetorians commenced to 
fire the city ; fear at once overcame the exasperation 
of the people, and paved the way to reconciliation.* 
A short time after, in the fifth year of Alexander's 
reign, Ulpian was assassinated by the praetorian 

* Diou Cass Hist, page 917. 


guard, thus expiating by his own violent death, the 
murder of Flavian and Chrestus. His efforts to re- 
store discipline to this formidable corps, excited to 
such a degree the animosity of the soldiers, that they 
boldly demanded his condemnation of the Emperor. 
Several times Alexander was reduced to the necessity 
of covering with his imperial purple, the prefect who 
had become so odious to the praetorians ; but even 
this protection did not long preserve the life of his 
favorite ; the praetorians finally murdered him in the 
very presence of the Emperor. Ulpian was suc- 
ceeded in the Prefecture of the Praetorium, by his 
colleague, Julius Paulus, a man well worthy the 
office, if extreme aversion for the Christians was at 
that time a necessary qualification for so important 
a charge. 

Thus the law ever armed with the sword kept 
guard at the doors of the Church, and when occasion 
offered, the legists eagerly took advantage of it. A 
city containing nearly three millions of inhabitants 
accustomed to scenes of bloodshed, was not likely to 
be agitated because severity was exercised against a 
sect, who, according to the expression of Tacitus, 
had drawn upon themselves the hatred of the whole 
human race.** It was well known that they would 
not be avenged by their brethren, who envied their 
fate; nor by the people, who were absurdly prejudiced 
against them ; nor by the emperor, who considered 
he favored the*i sufficiently by not proscribing them, 
and by admitting several to form a portion of his 

* Odio huuiaiii generis convicti. Tacit. Aunal. lib. xv. 
cap. xliv. 




The calendar of the Church has preserved the 
memory of several martyrs who suffered during the 
reign of Alexander. The execution of edicts being 
suspended, they are but few in number; we find 
them however in the Martyrologies, the persecuting 
spirit of the empire having more than once broken 
down the barriers imposed by the tolerance of the 

St. Hesychius, a soldier, was executed with St. 
Julius, under Maximinus at Dorostoros in Mysia. 
No other mention is made of martyrs who suffered 
at this epoch out of Eome; but in the capital itself, 
during the first year of the reign of Alexander, we 
find the names of the saintly priest Callipadius, who 
was beheaded, Palmatius* a personage of elevated 
rank, and Simplicius a senator, who were massacred 
with their families; shortly after, Pope Callistus; 

* The acts of St. Callistus err, in giving to Palmatius the title 
of Consul; this qualification should not be taken literally. We 
frequently find, not only in the acts of the Martyrs and other 
Saints, but likewise in histories and chronicles which are the 
foundation of the annals of modern society, that the compilers 
make many errors with respect to titles, from the fact that they 
are not familiar with those in use at the time the events took 
place. This confounding of terms does not detract from the sin- 
cerity of the authors, nor from the reliability of the sources 
whence they derive their facts. Even the most severe critics 
overlook such trilling errors, which are so frequent in the his- 
torical works, written after the fall of the Western Empire. 


later, the virgins Martina and Tatiana; and finally, 
the celebrated martyr whose combats we are going to 
relate, and who rendered the pontificate of St. Urban 
forever memorable. 

The holy Pope in consequence of numerous acts 
of violence, was convinced that he would not be 
permitted to end in peace the ninth year of his 
courageous episcopacy. The persecutors of the vene- 
rable Pontiff were not wanting in pretexts to satisfy 
their unjust hatred. Without requiring edicts of 
persecution, the magistrates could easily have re- 
course to the general laws which condemned to death 
all those guilty of sacrilege, as well as magicians 
and disturbers of the public peace.* The head of 
the Christians of Rome and of the empire, was thus 
liable at any moment to be led before the magistrates 
upon some charge of this nature. He was twice 
summoned to the Prsetorium, where he courageously 
confessed his faith. f Thenceforth, it was no longer 
possible for him to live within the city without ex- 

* The process directed against Palmatius and Simplicius, and 
in consequence of which they obtained the crown of martyrdom, 
was the result of a search after some Christians, accused of witch- 
craft, on acc&unt of certain omens which had been attributed to 
them. In cases of this nature, Alexander's governors easily 
eluded his tolerance towards the Christians. The magistrates 
knew how to take advantage of an accusation of witchcraft, in the 
interval of persecution ; and as to the crime of sacrilege a simple 
pi o vocation addressed to a Christian was often sufficient to obtain 
a reply that could^easily be metamorphosed into an insult offered 
the gods and prove a cause of arrest. Finally, it was an easy mat- 
ter to excite the people of certain districts to attack the faithful, 
and then accuse the latter as disturbers of the public peace. 

f St. Urban merited the title of Verus Confessor, which is given 
him in the Liber Pontijicalis, by the courage with which he con- 


posing his life : he therefore retired to the catacombs 
of the Appian Way, near the tombs of the martyrs, 
where recalling to his mind the example of his pre- 
decessors, he strengthened his soul for its last combat. 
While in this mysterious place of concealment, com- 
munications were sent him from the Churches of the 
East and of the West ; he directed the twenty-five 
churches which Rome already counted within her 
walls ; and received with benevolence, the faithful 
who had recourse to him, or the Pagans, who, 
touched by grace, earnestly implored to be enlight- 
ened by that Admirable Light, which the Prince of 
the Apostles had brought to the Romans.* Several 
priests and deacons assisted the Pontiff and shared 
his labors and perils. Many of the poor, watched 
like faithful sentinels along the road which led to 
the dwelling of the Vicar of Christianity. Being 
well known by the Christians of Rome, they served 
as agents between the Church and her chief, and thus 
concealed from the shrewd emissaries of the Pne- 
torium all traces of the mysterious communications 

fessed Jesus Christ before the judges of Rome — twice according 
to the Acts of St. Cecilia, and seven times according to the Acts 
of other Martyrs, cited by Henschenius. Tillemont considers 
this antonomasia of the papal chronicle, a sufficient reason to 
refuse St. Urban the title of martyr, asserting that the martyr- 
dom of this Pope is only based upon acts which have no author- 
ity. If Tillemont had taken the trouble to consult the different 
editions of the Sacramentary of St. Gregory, which represents the 
official tradition of the Catholic Church respecting the Saints 
whom she honors, particularly when they have been Pontiffs, he 
would have found that St. Urban in the VIII. of the calends of 
June, is always styled Martyr and Pope. 
* 1 Pet. xi., 9. 


which preserved life throughout the body of the 

The documents which certify the intervention of 
St. Urban in the affairs of the universal Church, are 
not now extant, but we see, in some of the fragments 
relating to Pontiffs who preceded or followed him, 
that during the first three centuries, the papal pre- 
rogative was exercised over the Church with as much 
calmness and authority from the foot of the scaffold, 
as in later years, when the apostolical letters emana- 
ted from the Lateran palace. The Liber Pontifical is 
makes no mention of the decrees attributed after- 
wards to Urban, on the doubtful authority of Mer- 
cator, but it particularly specifies that during the 
course of his pontificate*, the holy Pope consecrated 
eight bishops, the greater number destined doubtless 
for an apostolic life and for the foundation of new 
Churches. At the same time, St. Urban provided 
for the dignity of divine service in the churches of 
Borne. There were many Christians at the court of 
Alexander, in the senate, and among the patricians ; 
it was bat just that a part of the riches of the disci- 
ples of Christ, should be devoted to the suitable cele- 
bration of the divine mysteries. Aided by liberal 
contributions from these wealthy Christians, St. 
Urban replaced the vases of the altar with silver 
ones, and among other things ordered twenty-five 
silver patens for the various churches of the city.f 
These patens were very large, for they were des- 
tined to receive the bread which each one of the 

* Anast. de Vitis Pontificum Romanorum. In Urbano. 
f Hie fecit ministeria sacrata argentea, et patenas argenteaa 
viginti quinque posuit. Anast. Ibid. 


faithful who was to communicate, brought as an 
offering. Whilst St. Urban was devoting so much 
attention to the ornaments of material altars, he was 
exercising his pastoral zeal with still greater ardor 
in gathering converts to the fold of Christ. 

Thirty years before, Tertullian, in addressing the 
Senate, had exclaimed: "We are but of yesterday; 
yet already we fill your cities, your islands, your 
villages, markets, camps, tribes, palaces, and forum ; 
we leave you nothing but your temples."* Since that 
time, numerous recruits had reinforced the Christian 
ranks. It would be well to enumerate here the 
different ways in which God in His mercy, led the 
Gentiles to desire baptism. According to Tertullian, 
who lived under Alexander Severus, the greater 
number were attracted by the holiness and purity 
of life so conspicuous in the Christians ; whilst those 
who witnessed the invincible constancy of the mar- 
tyrs, were unable to resist the profound impressions 
made upon their souls.f The wonderful prodigies 
of which the simple faithful were frequently the 
instruments, such as curing the sick, casting out 
devils, etc., added much to the opinion already 
formed by the pagans, respecting the divinity of the 
Christian religion.;]; Even the oracles frequently 
confessed the truth of our dogmas, and Tertullian 
boldly proposed to the Senate, that, in presence of 
the magistrates, the Pythons, or even the gods, should 

* Hesterni sumus, et vestra omnia implevimus, urbes, insulas, 
castella, municipia, conciliabula, castra ipsa, tribus, deourias, 
palatiurn, senatum, forum ; sola vobis relinquinius templa 
Apologeticus. Cap. xxxvii. 

+ Ad Scapulam. cap. iv. \ Apolog. cap. xxxvii. 



be interrogated ; promising that the rash Christian 
who ventured to provoke them, should be punished, 
if the spirit, speaking through these victims of idol- 
atry, did not openly confess the truth and holiness 
of the God of the Christians.* Frequently, the infi- 
nite goodness of God, triumphed over the resistance 
of Pagans, by wonderful visions. We learn this 
by the express testimony of Tertullian.f Later we 
shall mention numerous conversions of this nature ; 
at present we will simply cite that of Saint Basili- 
des, who was gained to the faith by an apparition 
of the holy virgin Potaminia, who placed a crown 
"upon his head, and told him he would soon follow 
her to martyrdom $ the learned Arnobius, converted 
by a similar grace, according to St. Jerome ;§ and 
many other instances mentioned in the most authen- 
tic Acts of the Martyrs. Origen unites with Ter- 
tullian in certifying the permanency of these voca- 
tions to the faith throughout the third century : " I 
do not doubt," says this great Christian philosopher, 
" that Celsus, by the mouth of his Jew, will ridicule 
me ; but that will not prevent my saying that many 
persons have embraced Christianity, as it were, in 
spite of themselves, their hearts being so suddenly 
changed by some spirit which appeared to them, 
either in broad daylight, or at night, that their for- 
mer aversion for our doctrine has been converted 
into such intense love, that they willingly died in its 
defence. We have witnessed many such cases.||" 

* Apolog. cap. xxiii. f De anima. cap. xlvii. 
t Euseb. Hist. Eccles. Lib. vi. cap. v. 
§ Appendix ad Chronic. Eusebii. 
j| Contra Cels. Lib. i. n° 46. 


The zeal of the faithful did not permit the all- 
powerful mercy of the Most High to be the sole agent 
in these conversions ; for it is in the designs of God t 
that the Word of Life, the progress of which, neither 
man nor hell can restrain, should be spread through- 
out the world by mortal lips. Not only did the 
sacred hierarchy plant this fruitful seed; not only 
did the writings of numerous and eloquent apolo- 
gists, such as Justin, Athenagoras, Tertullian, fre- 
quently prove to the most prejudiced minds, the 
innocence and happy effects of the Christian doctrine, 
but on all sides, the love of Christ which consumed 
so many hearts burning for martyrdom, gave birth 
to apostles whose eloquence could not be withstood. 
Without speaking of the innumerable conquests 
gained in the bosom of families by the sole effect of 
the powerful example of Christian virtues, how many 
instances may we not adduce of humble and valiant 
soldiers, winning to Christ their haughty leaders, who 
thenceforth considered it a prouder honor to bear on 
their breasts the proscribed cross, than to command 
under the Roman eagles? At other times, poor slaves, 
by their simple and sublime words, suddenly hum- 
bled at the foot of the crucifix, the pride of a patri- 
cian, or the haughtiness of a stately Roman lady t 
who, until then had thought of nothing but sensual 
vanity, or the cruel pleasures of the amphitheatre. 
And again, Christian virgins, victorious over tb« 
world and the flesh, and emulating the purity of 
angels, seemed to rival those angelic spirits in their 
zeal for the conquest of souls. But whilst St. Urban 
guided the Roman Church, none of these spouses of 


Christ exceeded in love, fidelity, and ardent zeal, the 
incomparable virgin Cecilia. Charmed with the 
marvels of Divine grace in this simple and cou- 
rageous heart, the holy Pontiff, considering her the 
most precious flower in the garden of Christ, watched 
over and cherished her with truly paternal tender- 
ness. God did not permit him, however, to know 
the sublime degree of glory to which Cecilia was 
destined. St. Urban lived in continual expectation 
of martyrdom; but he knew not that his sacrifice 
would be preceded by that of this youthful virgin. 



Cecilia was born in Rome, of one of the most 
illustrious patrician families. The ancient and noble 
race of the Cecilii, one of the branches of Avhich 
adopted and rendered illustrious the surname of 
Metellus, gloried in their descent from Caia Cecilia 
Tanaquil, wife of Tarquin the elder, one of the most 
celebrated personages in the regal period. The 
Eomans, to prove their admiration for this matron, 
had erected in the capitol a statue to her honor."* 
Varro, as Pliny relates, certifies that even in his time 
the distaff and spindle of Caia Cecilia were carefully 
preserved in the temple of Sangus, and that, the 

* Nieburh. Histoire Romaine. Tom. ii, pag. 99. 


dress which this princess had woven for Servius 
Tullius* was kept in the temple of Fortune. 

This traditional homage paid to a woman who did 
not forget in her political character the proprieties 
and occupations of her sex, is one of the character- 
istic features of ancient Rome, and we shall have 
occasion to remark to what an exalted degree the 
qualities and attributes of Caia Cecilia, enter into 
the type of the Roman wife. Even one of the 
Fathers of the Church, St. Jerome, eulogizes this 
mysterious personage, citing her as a model of con- 
jugal modesty among the Gentiles. " The name of 
the prince to whom she was married," says the holy 
Doctor, " disappears beneath the shades of antiquity 
like that of other kings ; but the rare virtue which 
elevated this woman above others of her sex, is so 
deeply engraven in the memory of all ages that it 
can never be efiaced."f Thus the name of Cecilia 
which Tanaquil added to her Etruscan name, when 
called to reign over Rome, was respected by all 
generations in the Eternal City, at the time when it 
pleased the Almighty to offer a Christian Cecilia to 
the veneration, not only of the capital, but of the 
entire world. The illustrious race to which this 
holy virgin belonged, not only boasted of being 

* Lanam in colo et fuso Tanaqnilis, quae eadem Caia Caecilia 
vocata est, in templo Sangi durasse, prodente se, autor est M. 
Varro : factamque ab ea togam regiam undulatam in aede For- 
tune qua Servius Tullius fuerat usus. Plin. Nat. Hist lib. viii. 
cap. lxxiv. 

f Notior est marito suo Tanaquilla. Ilium inter mu It a Regum 
nomina jam abscondit antiquitas. Hano vara inter feminas virtus, 
altius sa>ciilorum omnium memorise, quam ut ezoidere possit, 
inlixit. Adversus Jovinianum. Lib. i. n° 49. 



allied to Caia Cecilia, but of numerous distinguished 
men who were its glory. Even in the time of the Re- 
public, it had attained the highest pinnacle of gran- 
deur. Without speaking of the dignities of the Dic- 
tatorship, Censorship, and Chief Pontificate, which 
members of the Cecilii family had successively 
enjoyed, and of which the annalists and the monu- 
ments of Rome still bear witness, its noble name is 
inscribed upon the Consular archives, eighteen times 
before the accession of Augustus to the Empire.* 
The coins struck in Rome by the Cecilii family, 
are still so numerous that a series of forty-four, all 
belonging to the Republican period, has been pub- 
lished.f The military triumphs awarded to the 
different members of this house were numerous and 
splendid, and added to the fame of the ancient Cecilii, 
the title of Macedonicus, Balearicus, Numidicus, 
Dalmaticus, Creticus, in memory of brilliant victo- 
ries over the enemies of Rome. The Cecilii family 
were often entrusted with the consular fasces by the 
Emperors, and, during the years which more imme- 
diately preceded the memorable epoch that gave 
birth to the happy virgin who rendered it more 
illustrious than all the great generals of whom it was 
so proud, we find in the archives the names of 
Caecilius Silanus,J Cascilius Rufus,§ Coecilius Sim- 
plex,! Caecilius Classicus, e [ and Caecilius Balbinus,** 
as having been invested with the magistracy.ff 

* Muratori. Inscriptiones. Tom. i. 

f Riccio. LenionetedelleantichefamigliediRoina. Naples, 1843. 

t A. U. (In the year of the City, [Rome,]), 759. 

§ A. U. 7G9. j| A. U. 822. ir A. U. 854. ** A. U. 890. 

ft Muratori. Ibid. L'art de verifier les dates. 


Among the females of this illustrious race who 
are mentioned in history, we find the names of 
Cecilia, daughter of Metellus Balearicus, of whom 
Cicero relates several marvellous circumstances ;* 
Cecilia, daughter of Metellus Dalmaticus, first mar- 
ried to iEmilius Scaurus and afterwards to the Dic- 
tator L. Sylla; and Cecilia, daughter of Q. Metellus 
Creticus and wife of Crassus, to whose memory, was 
erected a large and magnificent tomb, which is still 
the principal monument of the Appian Way. This 
celebrated edifice is built upon the very ground 
under which extend the mysterious Crypts that 
served as a place of concealment for St. Urban, and 
under the shadow of which the remains of St. 
Cecilia reposed for six centuries. 

Thus were Pagan and Christian Eome mingled , 
until the latter having conquered by its blood, the 
divine plan, according to which the city of the seven 
hills had become mistress of the world — solely to 
unite all nations under the same spiritual empire — 
was rendered manifest to all nations and to all ages. 
Hence that sublime reciprocal relation which, at 
every step, so forcibly impresses the traveller in 
Rome, constantly meeting, as he does, with souvenirs 
of the Ancient city ; her traditions and even her 
proper names applied, continued, and accomplished 
with astonishing plenitude under the Christian sway. 

We cannot resist introducing our readers to a 
place under the walls of Rome, so intimately con- 
nected with incidents relating to St. Cecilia, and so 
visibly stamped with the elevated predestination of 
* De diviuatioue. cap. n et xlvi. 


Christianity, that we cannot visit it without beina: 
struck by the mysterious connection between the 
two. This place is the Appian Way, the theatre of 
decisive events in behalf of the Eternal City. It 
was once adorned by the immense and costly sepul- 
chral monuments of the Koman families. The ruins 
of these still cover the ground under which is the 
sacred labyrinth in whose shades legions of martyrs 
have slept. 

Nothing can equal the grandeur and solemnity of 
this Way, which, during the reign of Alexander 
Severus, when the city was still enclosed on that 
side by the walls of Servius Tullius, commenced at 
the Capena gate and extended to the Campagna. It 
derives its name from Appius Claudius, who exer- 
cised the functions of Censor in the year of Rome, 
442, and who raised it to the dignity of a Military 
Way. In 594, it was repaired by the consul, Mar- 
cus Cornelius Cetegus, and newly embellished by 
the application of the Viaria law of Caius Gracchus; 
under the empire it was successively improved by 
Vespasian, Domitian, Nerva, Trajan, Caracalla, Dio- 
cletian, and Maximin, as is attested by the inscrip- 
tions on the mile stones which have remained to our 

Traversing the plain, which extends t6ward the 
south, the Appian Way is undulating like the ground. 
Sumptuous villas, temples of graceful or severe 
architecture, and here and there beautiful villages 
called pagi, embellished it throughout its course; 
but its principal ornament once consisted in the 
double row of tombs, traces of which may be found 


at the present day, for more than fourteen miles on 
either side of the way. The pavement, composed 
of solid blocks of lava, is magnificent and solid, like 
all the works of the royal people ; it is still indented 
for miles with the deep ruts formed by the wheels 
of the Eoraan chariots, two thousand years ago. 
The Appian Way, like all the ancient roads, was 
somewhat narrow, on either side of it were foot-paths, 
along which the sepulchres were built. The style 
of these funereal monuments, imposing ruins of which 
may still be seen, was very varied ; some were imi- 
tations of temples, built in an elegant and severe 
style ; othere were of a circular form, like a tower ; 
many, pyramidal, and a large number, quadrilateral. 
These sepulchres belonged either to individuals or 
to entire families ; some were intended for the patri- 
cians, others for their freedmen. The body of the 
deceased was frequently placed in a sarcophagus, 
but sometimes the loculus merely contained the 
ashes, according to the custom which was introduced 
towards the end of the Eepublic, of burning the 
corpse, a practice which became very general, except 
in some families who remained faithful to the ancient 
custom, which was afterwards re-established by 
Christianity. In addition to the tombs, the Appian 
Way likewise offered many mysterious columbaria, 
in which were a number of urns, placed one above 
the other, and containing the ashes of several gene- 
rations. The gloom produced by this variety of 
sepulchres, contrasted strangely with the magnifi- 
cence and luxury of the structures behind these ave- 
nues of death. The Pagans, fully sensible of the 


sublime lesson of tbe nothingness of human life, were 
actuated by a moral sentiment in selecting the pub- 
lic way, as the site of their tombs.* But the Christ- 
ian religion was destined to complete this lesson by 
excavating under the very ground of the Appian, 
whole cities of sepulchres, which would not only 
remind man of his mortality, but elevate his soul by 
thoughts of immortality and triumph. 

Such was the general aspect of this famous Road, 
which a poet of the first ages of the empire styled 
the ''Queen of Ways;"f and if my readers will 
accompany me through it for several miles, dating 
from the time of Alexander Severus, we will return 
to the Capena gate, formerly situated in the valley 
between the Aventine and Ccelian hills, not a mile 
this side of the present entrance. This latter opens 
in the enclosure of the walls constructed by Aure- 
liam thirty years after the events which form the sub- 
ject of our history. 

Issuing from the Capena gate, over which passed 
one of the might v aqueducts of Rome,j: the traveller 
came in sight of the temples of Honor and Virtue, 
erected by Marcellus after the fall of Syracuse. § 
About a quarter of a mile from the gate, almost 

* Varro speaks thus of the etymology of the word monumen- 
tum : '• Monument a q'u» in sepulchris : et ideo secundum viam, 
quo praetereuntes admoneant etsefuisse, et illos esse niortaleis." 
De lingua laiina. lib. Y. cap. vi. 

f Qua limite noto 
Appia longarum teritur regma viarum. 
Stace. Sylv. lib. n. carm. n. 
J Juvenal. Sat. iii. Martial, lib. iii. Ep. xirii. 
§ Tit. Liv. lib. xxv. cap. xi. lib. xxvii. cap. xxv. lib. xxix. 
cap. ix. 


opposite the magnificent warm baths of Antoninus 
Caracalla, the Latin road separated from the Appian 
and turned towards the left. Near this spot were 
situated the gardens which still bore the name of the 
poet Terence.* Further on, commenced the inter- 
minable series of tombs. We learn from Cicero that 
the sepulchres of the Scipios, the Calatini, the Ser- 
vilii and the Metelli, were situated outside the 
Capena gate, a short distance from the walls; f and 
the discovery made in the last century of the hypo- 
geum of the Scipios confirms this precious informa- 
tion.^: As yet we have not discovered the tomb of 
the Metelli, but as we proceed we will find many 
funereal reminiscences of this family, who seem, as 
it were, established upon this Way, awaiting the 
arrival of the noble offspring, to whom was reserved 
the honor of rendering the name of the Cecilii popu- 
lar until the end of time. Not far from these famous 
sepulchres and quite near the Capena gate, was situ- 
ated the tomb of Horatia, the young Eoman maiden, 
who, during the monarchical period, was killed by 
her own brother for having wept over the death of 
her betrothed. Farther on, we find on this same 
Way, other monuments of the decisive victor}' which 
Eome gained over Alba. We learn from Eoman 
history that the tomb of Horatia was constructed of 

* Sueton. Terentii. cap. v. 

f An tu egressus porta Capena quum Calatini, Scipiorum, 
Serviliorum, Metcilorum Sepulcra vides, miseros putas illos? 
Tuscul. lib. i. cap. vii. 

t The sepulchres of the Furii and the Manilii have been dis- 
covered nearly opposite the tomb of the Scipios. 


cutstone,* which accounts for its having defied the 
ravages of time. 

Another reminiscence of the early days of Rome, 
strikes the traveller's eyes before he reaches the tomb 
of the Scipios. The valley of Egeria which extends 
towards the left, was watered by the fountain of the 
Nymph who dictated the laws of Numa ; it also con- 
tained the temple of the Camoenae, and a sacred 
wood. But it had lost its antique character, and 
already Juvenal complained that pompous marble 
had usurped the place of the fresh grass, and con- 
cealed the rock from which the waters flowed. f The 
poet also discloses to us another fact which it is very 
important to mention, namely, that in his time the 
Egerian fountain, the temple of the Camoenae, and 
the grove itself were in the possession of the Jews. 
" The proscribed muses," he says, " have given place 
to beggars."^: For a long time, and particularly 
during the life of Juvenal, the Pagans confounded 
the Jews with the Christians. This gives us reason 

* Cui soror virgo, quae desponsauni ex Curiatiis fuerat, obvia 
ante portani Capenam fuit. Horatiae sepulcrum, quo loco cor- 
ruerat icta, constructum est saxo quadrato. Tit. Liv. lib. i. cap. 

\ In vallem Egeriae descendimus, et speluncas, 
Dissimiles veris. Quanto praestantius esset 
Numen aquae, viridi si margine clauderet undas 
Herba, nee ingenuum violarent marmora tophum ? 

Juvenal. Satyr, iii. 
t Hoc sacri fontis nemus, et delubra locantur 
Judaeis, quorum cophinus, fcenunique supellex ; 
Omnis enim populo mercedem pendere jussa est 
Arbor, et ejectis mendicat Sylva Camaenis. 

Juvenal. Ibidem. 


to believe that this quarter was inhabited by the 
disciples of Christ. Nearly all the first Christians 
were plebeians; they had been chosen from among 
the children of Jacob by St. Peter himself, who, 
when the edict of Claudius banished the Jews from 
Eome, was forced to leave the Capital for a short 
time; the beggarly Jews, mentioned with such 
severity by the poet, may, therefore, have been a 
Christian colony. 

This conjecture becomes almost a certainty, if we 
examine attentively the Appian Way at the very 
point where we have arrested our steps. Outside, it 
is covered with Pagan monuments ; whilst concealed 
from every eye, within the* bowels of the earth, com- 
mence the sombre galleries of the Christian catacombs. 
Wk have not yet reached the Aurelian enclosure, and 
already a new Appian Way bursts upon us where 
the heroes of Christ sleep in peace. On either side 
of this Queen of Ways, near the Capena gate, under 
the temples, baths, and villas of which imperial Eome 
is so proud, near the tombs of the Metelli and the 
Scipios, vast cemeteries extend where repose the 
generations of martyrs who preceded the reign of 
Aurelian. These subterraneous passages, which have 
been explored several times, and are still subjects of 
investigation, mark the spot where the Appian Way 
first assumes a Christian character ; we meet them in 
the very commencement of our pilgrimage. It would 
be difficult to account for their presence so near the 
walls of Eome, exposed to the view of the whole city, 
had the neighborhood been peopled solely by Pagans ; 
but the difficulty vanishes, if it be true that tho indi- 



gent Jews of whom Juvenal speaks, were, in fact, a 
Christian Community. They lived in this vicinity 
which, in the topographical inscriptions of Eome, 
bears the title of Vicus Camoenarum, and rented, not 
only the Egerian fountain, but also the temple of the 
Canioense and the Sacred Grove. They had every 
facility to open subterraneous vaults, to excavate 
galleries, to bury therein the bodies of their dead. 
After passing under the arch of Drusus, and travers- 
ing the ground upon which now stands the rampart 
built by Aurelian, we find, a few steps to the right, 
the first mile stone* of the Appian Way, the inscrip- 
tion bearing the name of Vespasian and Nerva. We 
next descend to the valley of the Almo, where the 
Way is watered by the famous brook, in which the 
priests of Cybele annually washed the statue of their 
goddess. To the right, upon a hill, rises the monu- 
ment of Priscilla, wife of Abascantius. Statius, in 
his poem "Sylvs3," describes the conjugal tenderness 
of this Eoman lady and the inconsolable grief of her 
husband. " Opposite the city," he says, " at the en- 
trance of the Appian Way, near the spot where Cybele 
ceases her lamentations, and forgets the brooks of Ida 
for the Almo of Italy ; there, O ! Priscilla ! thy vir- 
tuous spouse has laid thee on a precious couch, 
wrapped in the luxurious purple of Sidon. The 
devastating hand of time shall be powerless against 
thee, so precious are the perfumes exhaled by the 
sacred marble which contains thy honored remains."f 

* This column lias been transported to the terrace of the Capi- 

f Est locus ante urbem, qua primum nascitur ingeng 
Appia ; quaque Italo gemitus Almone Cybela 


Nevertheless, many centuries ago, the tomb of Pris- 
cilla was violated, and the monument which con- 
tained it. remained ignored upon the Appian Way, 
until recently, when the discovery of a mutilated 
marble showed that this sepulchre was the same 
which had proved powerless to protect the sarcopha- 
gus of Priscilla. We have here another instance of 
the renovation stamped by Christianity upon every 
thing Koman. At the very moment when the poet 
was celebrating the obsequies of this Priscilla, who 
is only eulogized by the learned, another Priscilla, 
of no less illustrious birth, was living in Eome and 
a Christian. Mother of the Senator Pudens, and 
grandmother of the virgins Praxedes and Pudentiana, 
this noble lady will live in the memory of the Church 
until the end of time. At her own expense, she 
caused the vast subterraneous galleries which bear 
her name to be excavated upon the Salarian Way ; 
hence when the ecclesiastical year brings us to the 
festival days of those who owe to her the burial 
ground, where their remains lie mingled with hers, 
the Church repeats her name with honor in the as- 
sembly of the faithful.* 

Ponit, et Idseos jam non reminiscitur amnes. 
Hie te Sidonio vclatam molliter ostro 
Eximius conjux (nee enim fumantia busta 
Clamoremque rogi potuit perferre) beato 
Composuit, Priscilla, toro ; nil longior aetas 
Carpere, nil sevi poterunt vitiare labores 
Siccatam membris ; tantus venerabile marmor 
Spirat odor. 

Stace. Silv. lib. v. Carm. i 
* The Liber Pontificalia mentions another Priscilla who, at the 
request of Pope Marcellus in the beginning of the 4th century, 


. "We find one of the most touching reminiscences of 
the founder of Christian Kome, directly opposite the 
tomb which Statius has immortalized. It was here 
that St. Peter, after the defeat of Simon the magician, 
yielding to the earnest solicitations of the faithful, 
was fleeing, notwithstanding his ardent desire for 
martyrdom, from the city over which he was destined 
to reign by his blood, when he met our Saviour carry- 
ing his cross. "Lord, whither art thou going?' 7 said 
the Apostle. " To Eome," replied the Eedeemer; 
"there to be crucified anew."* Warned by this 
celestial apparition, the Apostle at once retraced his 
steps ; he revealed the divine oracle to the faithful, 
and the cross of the disciple was soon elevated in 
Eome, as that of his Master had been in Jerusalem. 
The sovereignty of spiritual Eome was at once and 
forever proclaimed by the effusion of the fisherman's 
blood. The victory had commenced on the Appian 
"Way, and Catholic piety consecrated, by the erection of 
a sanctuary, the spot where the Apostle received the 
glorious command for the combat wherein he was to 
represent his divine Master. 

The Way ascends here by rather a steep acclivity, 

assisted in the construction of a cemetery upon the same Sala- 
rian Way. This may refer to some enlargements made at this 
period in the cemetery of Priscilla. But, besides the authority 
of the ancient Acts which inform us that St. Priscilla, Mother 
of Pudens, caused a cemetery to be constructed upon this Way, 
the characteristic style of many of the paintings with which it is 
adorned, evidently points out that it was built before the 4th 

* S. Ambros. Sermo contra Auxentium. n° 13. Hegesipp. lib. 
iii. S. Greg. Magn. in Psalm, iv. Poenitentiae. 


and the tombs appear more and more crowded to- 
gether ; but the disfigured rums found at the present 
day, give but a faint idea of their former state. Vast 
columbaria on the left, throw some light upon the 
ashes of those for whom they were destined. One 
dates back to the days of Augustus and Tiberius, and 
is sufficiently large to have contained the ashes of 
three thousand persons. On the same side, at a little 
distance, that of the slaves and freedmen of Livia 
Augusta,* still bears traces of former magnificence. 
But if the surface of the ground gives us little infor- 
mation respecting the illustrious dead with whom it 
is peopled, the depths of the earth, rendered accessi- 
ble by the indefatigable exertions of the fossores of 
the primitive Church, present avenues of sepulchres, 
the glory of which increases with time. Following 
the acclivity of which we have just spoken, a pilgrim, 
in the time of Alexander Severus, acquainted with 
the mysterious entrances to this immense necropolis, 
would have suddenly found himself in a vast city, 
silently inhabited by the illustrious dead, who had 
laid down their lives for Christ — not small ceme- 
teries, like those of the Capena gate, but the colossal 
work of the Christian Pontiffs of the third century. 
iO the right, the pilgrim would have beheld the 
crypts, excavated by order of Pope Zephyrinus, and 
continued by St. Callistus, whose name they boar ; 
to the left, the cemetery of Pretextatus, which dates 
back to the same epoch, and presents, like that of 
St. Callistus, several stories, one above the other, 

* Nibby. Analisi storico-topografico-antiquariadella carta de* 
diutorui di Roma. torn. iii. pag. 53G. 



of innumerable funereal corridors, intersecting one 
another in every direction, and numerous chapels 
where the bodies of the most celebrated martyrs re- 
pose. Many of these subterranean sanctuaries are 
lined with precious marbles, which reflected the light 
of lamps and torches, during the celebration of the 
holy mysteries ; symbolical, and sometimes historical 
paintings, on the ceilings, walls, and under the arcade 
of the principal sepulchres, served as an instruction 
for the faithful, whilst by their emblematical charac- 
ter, they concealed from the eyes of the profane, the 
secret of the Christian dogmas. 

These immense galleries continue for miles under 
the Appian Way, and in after years, the different 
quarters of the City of Martyrs, borrowed their names, 
from the more illustrious soldiers of Christ, buried 
near the entrance of their principal avenues. But, 
for the present, we will use the names of Callistus 
and Pretextatus, to designate, in a general manner, 
the two immense regions which extend the full length 
of the Way, from the acclivity we have described, to 
the valley, where, in the fourth century, the Basilica 
of St. Sebastian was built. 

The persecutions of Decius and Dioclesian, sent 
innumerable recruits of martyrs to people these sombre 
dwellings ; even in the pontificate of St. Urban, St. 
Zephyrinus' body* rested in one of the crypts situated 
on the right of the Way, where St. Callistus prepared 
the glorious asylum in which the invincible succes- 
sors of St. Peter were to sleep, and into which we 

* See the successive "guide books" of the Catacombs, from 
the 7th to the 10th century. We shall often refer to them. 


shall soon descend, to confide to the tomb, the pre- ' 
cious remains of the noble heroine to whom we con- ' 
secrate these pages. Saint Callistus was not buried 
in the retreat he had prepared for himself. Martyred 
in the trans-Tiberian region, near the church of St. 
Mary, the Christians, fearing they could not safely 
transport his body to the Appian Way, buried him 
in one of the crypts of the Aurelian. On the other 
side of the hill, behind the row of Pagan tombs which, 
extends to the right, in the valley formed by the depres- 
sion of the soil, was a mysterious asylum, known, even 
in the third century, to the Christians of the entire 
world. For many years, the bodies of the holy 
Apostles, Sts. Peter and Paul, rested there. In the pon- 
tificate of St. Zephyrinus, they were still in their origi- 
nal tombs ; the former at the foot of the Vatican on 
the Triumphal Way, the latter, on the Ostian, as is 
certified by Gaius, a priest of Rome, in a conference 
which he held with the Montanist Proclus, in the early 
part of this century.* But St. Callistus, on account 
of the sacrilegious orgies of Heliogabalus, had felt 
obliged to remove the holy relics to a place unknown 
to the Pagatis. The Appian AVay was chosen to re- 
ceive the first and greatest treasure of Christian Rome. 
Heliogabalus, in his sacrilegious madness, threat- 
ened to profane these sacred remains, which are, as it 
were, the title deeds of the power of the Roman 
Church over all others, since they bear witness that 
* Troplicea Apostolorum habeo, qua? ostendere possum. Si 
enim procedas via Triumphali, qutt ad Vaticanum ducit, aut 
Ostiensi, corum invenies Trophaea quibus ex utraque parte sta- 
tutes Romana communitur Ecclesia. Euscb. llistoria Ecdcsiast. 
lib, ii. cap, xxv. 


St. Peter bequeathed her his authority with his blood. 
The worthless cousin of Alexander Severus, had 
erected upon the Palatine, * near the palace of the 
Csesars, a temple destined to receive the infamous 
idol which bore his name. Being fully determined 
that no god but Heliogabalus should be adored in 
Rome, he not only resolved to transfer to this temple 
the statue of Cybele, the fire of Vesta, the Ancilia, 
the Palladium, those antique monuments of Eoman 
worship, to which the Gentiles believed the destinies 
of the Capital of the World to be attached, but he 
had likewise declared his intention of collecting there, 
• all the most sacred objects of Christian worship. We 
gather from a Pagan historian, these details so valu- 
able in explaining the traditions of Christian Eome.* 
Saint Callistus, who was Pope at this time, and who 

* Ubi primum (Heliogabalus) ingressus est urbem, omissis 
iis quae in provincia gerebantur, Heliogabalum in Palatino inonte 
juxta aedes imperatorias consecravit, eique templuni fecit, stu- 
dens et Matris typum, et Vestae igneni, et Palladium, et Ancilia, 
et omnia romanis veneranda in illud transferre templum, et id 
agens ne quis Romae Deus, nisi Heliogabalus coleretur. Dicebat 
praeterea Judaeorum et Samaritanorum religiones, et Christi- 
anam devotionem illuc transferendam, ut omnium culturarum 
secretum Heliogabali sacerdotiumteneret. Lampridius. Augusta 

The historian also relates that Heliogabalus gave an exhibi- 
tion of harnessed elephants on the Vatican plain ; and that not 
having sufficient space for so novel an entertainment, he ordered 
the sepulchres to be destroyed. The tomb of the prince of the 
Apostles being subterranean, could not indeed be overturned, 
but as all access to it might be rendered very impracticable for 
the faithful, St. Callistus probably found in this extravagant 
command, an additional motive for removing to a place of se- 
curity, the remains of St. Peter, those precious relics which 
were then, and ever will be, the Palladium of Christian Rome. 


has been immortalized by bis active interest in guard- 
ing the crypts of the Appian Way, wished to protect 
from dishonor, the remains of the holy Apostles, and 
therefore removed them from the place where they 
had hitherto been venerated by the faithful.* He 
caused a sepulchral chamber to be built, the descent 
into which was effected by means of a well, and there 
the first Vicar of Christ, and the Doctor of the Gen- 
tiles, reposed each in his own tomb for many years, 
after which they were restored to their primitive 
resting place. The place where they rested for that 
brief interval is called the catacombs,f a name after- 
wards applied more or less correctly to the Christian 
crypts and cemeteries throughout the different Ways. 
In leaving this sacred spot, and resuming the 
course of the Appian, we see before us, towards the 
left, a vast plain which extends in the direction of 
the Latin Way. About half a mile distant, upon a 
graceful hill, and overlooking a nymphoeum, which 
was once deemed to be the site of the grotto and foun- 
tain of Egeria, a prostyle temple now rears its por- 
tico of four fluted columns of Pentelican marble. 
This temple, built during the Eepublican period, and 
less remarkable than many others which adorned the 
Eoman Ways, merits nevertheless, a passing notice 
from the Christian traveller. At the present day, 
we are uncertain to what false divinity it was con- 
secrated ; for a long time it was supposed to be the 

* Panvini de Septem Urbis Ecclesiis. cap. iv. pag. 34. Moretti. 
Disputatio de trauslatione corporum SS. Petri et Tauli ad Cata* 

t Kalendariuin Bucherianum. Anastase. in Cornelio. 


temple of the Camoen99, celebrated by the poets, and 
mentioned on the topographical monuments of Home, 
at the identical period when the name of Egeria was 
given to the fountain in the valley. This opinion is 
not well supported, and yet, without any better foun- 
dation, the edifice bears at present, the name of 
Bacchus. However this may be, we learn from tra- 
dition, that it served as a retreat for the pontiff, St. 
Urban. This touching reminiscence has been per- 
petuated by an oratory built under the temple, in the 
soft, sandy stone, and since consecrated as a church, 
under the name of St. Urban. The crypts of Pretex- 
tatus, branch out through the surrounding ground ; 
the pontiff was, consequently, perfectly secure in his 
place of concealment, which was at some distance 
from the public roads, and may, moreover, have 
belonged to the Christians, as did the temple of the 
Camcena), under the very walls of Rome. 

A Pope, already a confessor, and soon to be a mar- 
tyr, seeking refuge in a Pagan temple, is a striking 
feature of that secret and continual labor, by which 
Christianity sapped the foundation of the religion of 
the Gentiles. In connection with this fact, we may men- 
tion that the Vatican crypt, which received the bleeding 
body of the Prince of the Apostles, after his martyr- 
dom, was excavated under a temple of Apollo,* near 
the Circus of Nero. All traces of the temple have 
disappeared forever ; but if the tomb of the Galilean 
fisherman, unceasingly venerated by the faithful, 
remains buried under its majestic shadow, the cross 
upon the cupola of Michael Angclo, towering to the 
* Anastase. in Petro. 


very skies, proclaims that Christ, the conqueror of 
false gods, reigns no longer merely in the bowels of 
the earth. 

Eeturning to the Appian Way, we find the third 
mile-stone, near which were placed the Christian 
beggars, charged with pointing out to the faithful, the 
retreat of St. Urban. To the left, the sepulchre of 
Cecilia Metella, rose in graceful majesty. Restii^g 
upon the summit of a hill, it overlooked the tombs, 
temples, and villas with which the plain was covered, 
and the aqueducts which bore the tribute of lakes 
and rivers to the city of the Ca3sars. This mag- 
nificent monument is now but a mass of ruins, 
yet it is still the most noble ornament of the Cam- 
pagna. Supported upon a quadrilateral dais, and built 
of travertine, it has the appearance of an elegantly 
proportioned tower; the upper part is embellished 
with a frieze decorated with festoons separated 
by bulls' heads; the whole being crowned by a 
conical roof, also in travertine.* Neither man nor 
time has effaced the dedicatory inscription, placed 
under the frieze, and surmounted by several trophies. 
It bears the simple words : 




Here, then, reposed Cecilia Metella, the daughter of 
Quintus C;ecilius Metellus Creticus, who was consul 

* Canina (I/Arohitettura Romana, text, 3 part page 217) 
maintains that the roof of Cecilia Metella' S tomb was of a coni- 
cal form. A simple inspection of the interior vault of the monu- 
ment, proves this conjecture to be well founded. 


under Augustus, in the seventh year of the Christian 
era. Crassus, the husband of Cecilia, erected this 
tomb in her honor. This last scion of the house of 
Crassus, is only known by the monument he erected 
to his noble spouse. Cecilia herself, has no other 
history than that transcribed upon the "marble. Still, 
the Christian who recalls the name and virtues of 
Cecilia, the spouse of Christ, can scarcely pass with 
indifference, this tomb, admired even by the profane 
archeologist, for its severe magnificence. The pre- 
destined martyr, in going to the crypts to visit the 
tombs of her family, and to receive the instructions 
of St. Urban, must have more than once stopped to 
gaze at this sepulchre, which contained the remains 
of one of the females of her ancient and illustrious 
race ; but an humble tomb in the vault of the Appian 
Way, merited by sufferings endured for Christ, seemed 
to her far more desirable than the most splendid 
mausoleum which her opulent family could erect to 
her memory in that stately Way. 

The monument of Cecilia Metella served as a fort- 
ress in the thirteenth century, and ever since has been 
disfigured by a crown of battlements. The large 
sarcophagus of marble, in which Crassus deposited 
the body of his wife, was carried away in the six- 
teenth century, and placed under the eortile of the 
Farnese palace, where it still remains. 

Let us now return to the epoch of Alexander Sev- 
erus, and after casting a last glance at the sepulchre 
of the Pagan Cecilia, let us ascend the hill, and ad- 
mire one of the most sumptuous and luxurious 
villages which embellish the vicinity of the Eternal 


City. It is called the Pagus Triopius, and owes its 
origin to Herod Atticus, a celebrated rhetorician, 
who was consul in the year 143 of the Christian era. 
This wealthy Athenian dedicated the village as a 
monument to the memory of his wife, Anna Eegilla, of 
the Julia family. In his inconsolable grief at the loss 
of his spouse, he not only dedicated all her favorite 
jewels to the Eleusinian divinities, Ceres and Pros- 
erpine, distributing them among the most venerated 
sanctuaries of these goddesses; but he also vowed to 
them that he would expend upon this region of the 
Appian Way, all the riches left by his lamented 
wife. A sacred grove, a temple in honor of the two 
Ceres, a sepulchral field dedicated to Minerva, and 
to Nemesis, are the solemn testimonials of the regrets 
of Herod Atticus, the founder of this Pagus, which 
he called Triopius, in honor of Ceres, whose sanctu- 
ary at Argos bore this name* 

The different Greek inscriptions, representing the 
dedication of this field of mourning, have been pre- 
served until the present day, and the two principal, in 
beautiful Pentelican marble, after having ornamented 
the Borghese Villa at Eome, for two centuries, were, 
in 1808, transported to Paris, where they have since 
remained. The quarries of this marble, so famous in the 
history of Greece, belonged to Herod Atticus, who 
nearly exhausted them in the construction of the Sta- 
dium Panathenaicum.f It was not long before numer- 
ous dwellings were erected around the monument of 

* Visconti (Ennio Quirino). Iscrlzioni greche Triopee. Rome. 
1794. page 5. 

f Pausanias and Philostratus, cited by Ennio Visconti, page 8. 



Anna Eegilla. The Pagus was called the abode of 
hospitality, — as we find upon one of the inscriptions, 
and during the reign of Alexander Severus, its popu- 
lation was considerable. A temple of Jupiter was 
erected upon the part which led to the Appian Way. 
Later we will revisit these places. 

The Appian Way becomes more level after leav- 
ing the Pagus Triopius. In the distance rises Mt. 
Albanus with its nine cities, its loftiest summit 
crowned with the temple of Jupiter Latialis. The an- 
cient Way, so long buried beneath its ruins, has reap- 
peared, thanks to the munificence of the immortal Pius 
IX. Innumerable monuments have been brought 
to light, and we of the present day tread the pave- 
ment furrowed in olden times by the chariots of the 
conquerors of the world. 

Near the fourth mile-stone, not far from Seneca's 
villa, a pyramid of barbarian construction attracts 
the eye; between Eome and Alba there are four 
others very similar. It is a popular tradition that 
these monuments were erected to the two Horatii and 
the three Curiatii* However this may be, Livy, the 
historian, asserts that these valiant champions were 
buried in this locality. " Their sepulchres," he says, 
" are erected on the spot where each one fell, the two 
Eomans in the same tomb, near Alba; the three 
Albans, nearer Eome, at a little distance from one 
another, according to the scene of combat, f 

* Nibby. cited by Ennio Visconti, pages 543, 544. 

t Sepulcra extant quo quisque loco cecidit : duo romana uno 
loco propius Albam ; tria albana Romam versus, sed distantia 
locis, et ut pugnatuui est. Tit, Liv. lib. i. cap. xxv. 


Thus the traces of this memorable contest which 
decided the victory of the Eomans over the Albans, 
were not effaced from the Appian soil, and may, per- 
haps, be recognizable even in our days. But the 
Eome saved by the blood of the Horatii, lies buried 
under the ruins heaped up by the ravages of time, 
and of barbarians ; it is but a mutilated corpse of 
which the fragments are exhumed ; whilst the Rome, 
for which the martyrs of the Appian Way combated, 
raises its imperishable head and pursues its con- 
quests to regions not even coveted by the boundless 
ambition of the Caesars. 

It is time for us to return to the city where St. 
Urban and Alexander Severus are reigning, each in 
his own sphere. Gladly would we have followed the 
course of the Appian to the village Tres Tabernse, for 
it was there the Apostle Paul, the captive of Jesus 
Christ, led from the East to the feet of Caesar to 
whom he had appealed, was met by the Christians of 
Eome, who had gone out to receive him.* But we 
have explored sufficiently ; for already we have passed 
the places which will be mentioned in our story. 
Nevertheless before retracing our steps towards Rome, 
let us admire at the fifth mile-stone, the monument 
of Quintus Cascilius, the uncle of Cicero's celebrated 
friend, Pomponius Atticus.f This tomb, the ruins of 
which are still imposing, will recall to our minds the 
name and race of the Christian heroine whose holy 
footsteps we have traced on this Queen of Roman 
Ways, where every thing speaks of Cecilia, the glory 
of her ancestors, and the sublimit}? - of her virtues. 

* Act. xxviii. 15. 

f Cornelius Nepos. In T. Pomponio Attico. cap. xxii. 




It is an ancient tradition of Christian Eome that 
the house in which Cecilia lived until she attained a 
marriageable age, was built upon the Campus Martius. 
A Church called St. Cecilia de Domo,* was erected 
at an early period upon the ground formerly occupied 
by the palace. It was rebuilt in the last century, 
through the liberality of Benedict XIII., as we will 
mention in its proper place, and the following inscrip- 
tion was taken from the ancient church, and engraven 
in mediaeval characters upon an antique cippus : 




The popular title (del divino amove) which has been 
attached to .this church forcibly reminds us that it 
was once the house of the Cecilii, which was truly a 
temple of divine love, during the years the virgin 
passed under its roof. 

It is not surprising that the house of a patrician 
should have been built upon the Campus Martius, 
although ancient writers give us to understand that 
this immense tract of ground was destined for mili- 

* See the certificate of Urban III., of the Calends of March, 
given in full by Fonseca. De Basilica S. Laurentii in Damaso. 
Page 252. 

f This is the house where Saint Cecilia prayed. This inscrip- 
has been removed to the Sacristy. 


tary exercises. Many temples and public edifices 
were erected upon a large portion of it under the 
Emperors, and Augustus, in his sixth consulate, 
caused his celebrated mausoleum to be constructed 
between the Flaminian Way and the left bank 
of the Tiber, even beyond the locality where we 
have placed the palace of the Cecilii. This mau- 
soleum was surrounded by groves of trees, designed 
for the amusement of the people.* Later, in the 
third century, many private dwellings, with gardens 
attached, being erected upon the plain, the Emperors 
were thwarted in the project they had conceived, of 
beautifying this region with an immense and sumptu- 
ous portico, the pillars of which should reach to the 
Milvian Bridget This field for military exercises, 
was consequently more and more circumscribed, so 
that nothing prevents our believing that, during the 
reign of Alexander Severus, the Cecilii family erected 
a palace upon ground already covered with public 
and private edifices, and situated this side of the site 
where Augustus, two centuries previous, had built 
his superb mausoleum. We, therefore, implicitly 
believe the tradition respecting the situation of the 
Cecilii palace.^ In this magnificent dwelling, deco- 

* Suetonius, in Augusto. cap. 100. f Julius Capitolinus and 
Trebellius Pollion, cited by Canina. Ibid, page 439. 

t We may also add that there was no reason for pointing out 
in Rome, the house in which Cecilia lived before her marriage, 
unless an ancient and venerable tradition had been really attached 
to the place where the church of St. Cecilia de Domo was after- 
wards built. Rome was sufficiently rich in the possession of 
the house where St. Cecilia consummated her sacrifice. This 
incontestable monument sufficed for the piety of the faithful ; 
there was no necessity of gratuitously imagining the existence 
of a house upon the Campus Martius. 5* 


rated with all the splendor of Eoman pomp, sur- 
sounded by the trophies and crowns of her ancestors, 
Cecilia, despising the ostentation and attractions of 
the age, practised with perfect fidelity, the divine law 
which Christ came to establish upon earth. History 
throws no light upon the means used by the Holy 
Spirit to win her to this celestial doctrine ; but we 
know that from her earliest infancy, she was initiated 
in the mysteries of Christianity. Probably an aged 
relative, or faithful nurse, previously illuminated by 
the true light, instructed the young girl in the princi- 
ples of that faith, the profession of which, in those 
days, almost necessarily involved the sacrifice of 
earthly happiness. 

Although Cecilia's parents were Pagans, they do 
not appear to have opposed the attachment of their 
daughter to a religion which was daily gaining ground 
in Eome, and which had followers even in the impe- 
rial household. Either through tenderness or indiffer- 
ence, they permitted her to practise her religion, and 
attend the assemblies of the Christians. During the 
respite from persecution, a calm which was but the 
precursor of a storm, Cecilia publicly attended the 
celebration of the divine mysteries in the churches 
where the faithful were wont to assemble. She fre- 
quented the crypts of the martyrs, where the festivals 
of those Christian heroes frequently gathered the 
faithful of Eome ; and the poor, who were entrusted 
with the secret of St. Urban's retreat, knew her well, 
and promptly delivered all her messages. 

The Christians of this period lived in continual 
expectation of martyrdom; the thought of it seemed 


a necessary element in all tlieir plans for tlie future ; 
even as a sailor, who commences a long sea voyage, 
lias ever present to his mind the dangers of a storm. 
Cecilia did not shrink from this prospect, so formid- 
able to nature. On the contrary, she found rest and 
consolation in the thought that martyrdom would 
unite her forever to Christ, who had deigned to choose 
her from the bosom of a Pagan family, and to reveal 
himself to her. Whilst awaiting the happy summons, 
her heart was constantly united to that of her divine 
Master, with whom she held colloquies day and night.* 
Eavished with the charms of this interior communi- 
cation, she sought Him at all times in the holy ora- 
cles, and the book of the Gospels, hidden under her 
garments, ever rested on her heart.f She derived 
from this sacred contact, a supernatural courage which 
elevated her above the weakness of human nature, 
whilst the vivifying unction of the words which are 
spirit and life (John vi., verse 64.) was communi- 

* Non diebus, non noctibus, a colloquiis divinis et oratione 
cessabat. Acta S, Cecilice, edit, of Bosio (1G00) and of Laderchi 

f This custom of the first Christians, of carrying the Gospel 
concealed under their garments, was still preserved in the fourth, 
and fifth centuries. St. Jerome speaks of it as being very fre- 
quent among the Christian females, (in Matthaeum, lib. iv. ad 
caput xxiii. 6.) and St. John Chrysostom says : They wore it 
suspended around their necks. (Ad populum Antioch. Homil. 
xix. n° 4.) We find remains of this pious practice among the 
Irish Catholics, who, during their travels, or while ill, are in the 
habit of wearing the opening verses of the Gospel of St. John, 
(verses 1 — 14.) printed upon a sheet of paper. At the present 
time, when so many emigrate to America, it is probable that 
scarcely one could be found, who has not this sacred text sewed 
in his garments. 


cated to her. The hand of the celestial spouse could 
alone claim the privilege of culling this fresh and 
fragrant flower from among the thorns of the Gentiles, 
and he inspired the heart of Cecilia with a love wor- 
thy of that which he had shown her by dying upon 
the cross. The virgin fully responded to the advances 
of her God, and vowed in her heart never to accept a 
mortal spouse. It is not known whether she received 
from St. Urban the sacred veil which Pudentianaand 
Praxedes had worn with honor, and which formed the 
most beautiful ornament of many Eoman virgins. 
Cecilia may have privately made, in the secrecy of 
her own heart, the sacrifice of human affections, to 
consecrate herself to an eternal love. The spouse 
who had called her to be the bride of heaven, accepted 
her vows, and awaited in eternity, the day of their 
union. But where will this young maiden, whose 
soul is in heaven while her feet still tread the earth, 
find a protector in this most profane of cities, and in 
the bosom of a Pagan family ? The Spouse she has 
chosen will defend His bride ; He has commanded 
her guardian angel to appear to her ; this celestial 
messenger has assured Cecilia of his protection ; he 
will shield her from the world and its perils. She 
will be conscious that he is ever at her side, ready to 
strike with his avenging arm, the rash mortal who 
would presume to touch the treasure of heaven. 

However, the virgin could not expect to gain with- 
out combat the nuptial crown destined for her ; and 
she was soon called upon to merit it by a painful 
trial. Adorned with every natural grace, faint image 
of the beauty of her soul, Cecilia was fitted for the 


most illustrious alliance. Her parents, proud of their 
daughter, determined to unite her in marriage to some 
noble patrician. Incapable of understanding the 
sublime love which consumed the heart of Cecilia, 
and the ties which bound her to heaven, they sought 
for her an earthly spouse, and thus compelled the 
bride of Christ to receive a mortal bridegroom. 

Marriages between Christians and Pagans still oc- 
curred at this epoch ; though they sometimes led into 
difficult situations, they were often the instruments 
employed by God, to gain the infidel party to the 
true faith. The Church, however, conformably to 
the Apostolic doctrine,* strongly disaproved of them ; 
necessity alone could excuse the faithful who con- 
tracted them.f Cecilia, as we have said, was forced 
by the imperious will of her parents, notwithstand- 
ing her vow of virginity, tc marry a young pagan. 
The wisdom and greatness of God could alone triumph 
over so painful a situation. 

Valerian was the name of the young Eoman, des- 
tined, according to human views, to receive the hand 
of Cecilia. His noble birth, handsome person, and 
generous qualities, seemed to render him worthy such 
an honor, and he ardently longed for the day, when 
he would possess the treasure coveted by so many 
young patricians. The happy bridegroom had a 
brother, named Tiburtius, whom he loved with that 
ingenuous and devoted affection which was one of the 
principal features of his character. It made him 

* II. Cor. vi. 14. f We find nevertheless many celebrated ex- 
amples after the third century ; In the fourth, St. Monica mar- 
ried Patricius, a Pagan. In the fifth, St. Clotilda married Clovis, 


happy to think that his "anion with Cecilia would 
strengthen the tender bonds which united them. The 
two brothers were not mistaken in their hope ; but 
God alone knew to what an extent the love planted 
in their hearts by Cecilia, would surpass all earthly 
affection ; and how soon these two brothers and their 
sister would pass to a region where pure souls are 
united in the bosom of infinite love. 



Cecilia was not at liberty to refuse the testimonies 
of affection lavished upon her by Valerian. Full of 
esteem for the noble qualities of this young Pagan, 
she could have loved him as a brother ; but she was 
betrothed to him, and the wedding-day was rapidly 
approaching. Who can conceive the anguish of the 
young virgin? The irresistible command of her 
parents, the high spirit of the young man, chilled 
her blood with fear, and she had no other resource, 
than to bury deeper in her soul, the chaste secret of 
that love which reigned supreme in her heart.* 

She knew that her angel watched over her, but she 

* Parentum enim tanta vis et sponsi circa illam erat exaes- 
tuans, ut non posset amorem sui cordis ostendere, et quod 
Christum solum diligeret indiciis evidentibus aperire. Acta S. 


would soon be forced to contend for herself; it was 
time to prepare for combat. Under a magnificent 
dress, embroidered with gold, she wore a hair shirt, 
seeking thus to mortify her innocent flesh,* and bring 
it into subjection to the spirit, that it might not recoil, 
when she would be called upon to pay with her blood, 
the signal honor of being the chosen bride of heaven. 
Condemned to live in the midst of patrician effemi- 
nacy, she took every precaution to deaden by volun- 
tary suffering, that attraction to pleasure which 
tyrannizes over the children of Eve, and too fre- 
quently reveals to an imprudent and negligent soul, 
the deep corruption of the human heart. 

If, following the example of the widow of Bethulia, 
Cecilia concealed under her garments the instruments 
of her penance, like David, she also weakened her 
flesh by rigorous fasts. According to the custom of 
the first Christians, when they wished to appease 
heaven, or obtain some signal favor, she abstained 
from food two, and sometimes three days, only taking 
in the evening a slight repast necessary to support 
life.f This courageous preparation by means of 
which she hoped to insure victory, was rendered still 
more efficacious by her continual and ardent prayers. 
With heartfelt earnestness she recommended to God 
the dreaded hour ! J With tears and sighs she im- 
plored the assistance of the celestial spirits who co- 
operate in our salvation, of the holy Apostles, patrons 

* Csecilia vero subtus ad carnam cilicio induta, desuper auro 
textis vestibus tegebatur. Acta S. Ccecilice. 
f Biduanis ac triduanis jejuniis orans. Ibid. 
X Cominendabat Domino quod tiniebat. Ibid. 


and founders of Christian Kome, of the blessed in- 
habitants of heaven who protect our combats.' 55. The 
favor which Cecilia so fervently solicited, was granted ; 
but her celestial spouse was pleased to try his noble 
bride, that her virtue might be strengthened and 
purified. Was she not soon, in return for so much 
suffering, to enter into the possession of eternal hap- 
piness? Moreover, the approaching conflict which 
was to crown her with so much glory, was but the 
prelude to those combats in the midst of which, she 
would require a manly courage, not yet sufficiently 
developed in her heart by divine love. 

The day finally arrives when Valerian is to receive 
the hand of Cecilia, f The palace of the Cecilii is in 
a state of commotion. The heart of the young man 
bounds with happiness, and the two families, proud 
of being united in their children, look forward to the 
hope of a posterity worthy their ancestors. Cecilia $ 
is led forward, attired in the nuptial dress of the patri- 
cian ladies. The purity of her soul is well repre- 
sented by her simple § white woolen tunic, trimmed 
with bands,|| and fastened with a white woollen gir- 

* Invitabit Angelos precibus, lacryniis interpellabat Apostolos> 
et sancta agmina omnia Christo fainulantia exorabat, ut suis 
earn deprecationibus adjuvarant, suam Domino pndicitiam com- 
mendantes. Acta S. Ccecilice. 

f Venit dies in quo thalamus collocatus est. Ibid. 
J Claustra panditi, jannae : 

Virgo adest. Viden' ut faces 
Splendidas quatiunt comas ? 
CatulL in nuptias Julias et Manlii. Carm. lxi 
§ Plinii Nat. Histor. lib. viii. cap. lxxiv. 
II Segmenta et longos habitus et flammea sumit. ^ 

Juvenal Sat. ii, v. 24. 


die * This modest apparel, the last trace of the ancient 
gravity of Roman customs, was, at the same time, a 
glorious reminiscence in the Cecilii family ; the plain 
robe of the bride being a memento of that woven by 
the royal matron, Caia Cecilia.f. The hair of the virgin, 
according to custom, was divided into six tresses,^ 
which was at once an imitation of the Vestal head- 
dress^ and a touching symbol of Cecilia's consecra- 
tion.! A flame-colored veil concealed from profane 
eyes her maiden beauty, on which the angels gazed 
with admiration. At this solemn moment, the vir- 
gin's heart was firm and calm ; she confided in the 
protection of her guardian angel. For the first time, 
she was compelled to endure the celebration of Pagan 
ceremonies. The wine and milk were offered in her pres- 
ence,^ but she turned away her eyes. The cake, 

* Festus upon the word Cingulus. 

f Caia Caecilia prima texuit rectam tunicam, quales cum toga 
pura tirones induuntur, novceque nuptae. Plin, Nat. Hist. lib. 
viii. cap. lxxiv. J Festus on the word Senis. 

§ The Romans permitted brides, on the day of their marriage, 
the privilege of dressing the hair like the Vestals, as a last 
homage to their virginity. 

|| Tollite, o pueri, faces ; 

Flammeum video venire. — CatulL Carm. lxi. 
Timidum nuptae leviter tectura pudorem 
Lutea demissos velarunt iiarumea vultus. 

Lucan. Pharsal. ii. v. 360. 
We find the use of this veil, called flammeum, even in the 
marriages of Christians, until the fourth century, as is attested 
by St. Ambrose, (de Virginitate, cap. xv.) who calls it the 
nuptial flammeum. Among the Pagans, the bride wore it to ex- 
press the stability she intended maintaining in the conjugal 
state, because this flame-colored veil was the distinctive badge 
of the Flaminian women to whom divorce was prohibited by law. 
IT Servius, in Georg. i. v. 244. Macrobe. Saturn, iii. 11. 



symbol of alliance, was broken, * and Cecilia's timid 
hand, adorned with the invisible ring of the spouse 
of Christ, was placed in that of Valerian. All was 
accomplished in the eyes of man, and the virgin, over 
whom heaven was watching, had taken another step 
towards danger. According to an ancient custom, 
the bride was conducted to the dwelling of her hus- 
band, at sunset.f The house of Valerian was situated 
in the trans-Tiberian region, near the Salutaris Way, 
a short distance from the Cestius Bridge, which con- 
nects the island of the Tiber to the Janiculum dis- 
trict.^: This mansion, the last earthly dwelling of 
Cecilia, was destined soon to surpass in glory, the 
palaces, baths, and temples, which surrounded it,§ 
and of which the antiquaries of the present day can 
scarcely find a trace. A sanctuary, consecrated by 
the blood of a virgin, it was to survive all the dis- 
asters of Eome, and to proclaim through the course 
of ages, the fidelity of her who dwelt for a short 
period beneath its roof. Nuptial torches preceded 
the retinue which accompanied Cecilia to the dwell- 

* Servius, in Georg. i. v. 31. Pline. xvii. 3. 
f Vesper adest, juvenes, consurgite, vesper olynipo 

Exspectata diu vix tandem lumina tollit. 
Jam veniet virgo, jam dicetur Hynienoeus. 

Catull. Carm. lxii. 
t The ancient topographical monuments of Rome describe in 
the trans-Tiberian region, a district which they designate under 
the name of Statuce Valeriana. This denomination, which is 
not explained by any of the archaeologists, probably refers to 
some monument of the Valerian family. 

§ See in Canina (Roma antica. pages 533, 605) a detailed 
account of the monuments of the 14th Region of Rome, situated 
beyond the Tiber. 


ing of her husband. The crowd extolled the charms 
of the young virgin, but she conversed in her heart, 
with that Almighty God who preserved the three 
children in the fiery furnace, and saved Daniel from 
the lion's fury. These memorials of the ancient 
covenant, so frequently carved upon the crypts which 
Cecilia had piously visited, animated her courage, as 
they had strengthened that of the martyrs. At length, 
the bridal party arrived at the palace. Under the por- 
tico, decorated with white tapestry, embroidered with 
festoons of flowers and leaves,* Valerian awaited 
Cecilia. According to the ancient custom, the bride- 
groom saluted his bride with this question : " Who 
art thou?" The bride replied, "Where thou art 
Caius, I will be Caia."f The allusion was doubly 
touching at the marriage of one of the daughters of 
the Cecilii family, this formula being another remi- 
niscence of Caia Cecilia, who was venerated by the 
Eomans, as the type of woman, in her domestic rela- 
tions. The Christian Cecilia found a more accom- 
plished model in the portrait drawn by the Holy 
Ghost, of the strong woman, and Valerian was soon 
to comprehend the truth of this divine oracle, so 
fully accomplished in his spouse. " Strength and 
beauty are her clothing, and she shall laugh in the 

* Necte coronam 
PostFbus, et densos per limina tende corymbos. 

Juvenal. Sat. vi. v. 51, 52. 
Ornentur postes, et grandi janua lauro. 

Ibid. v. 79. 
\ Ubi ta Caius, ego Caia. Valere-Maxime. De nominum ratione. 
Festus, on the words Ga'ia, llecta, and Reg ilia. Alexander ab 
Alexandre Genialium dierum. ii. 5. 


latter day. She hath opened her mouth to wisdom, 
and the law of clemency is on her tongue. Her 
husband rose up, and he praised her." ( Proverbs, 
xxxi. 25—28.) Cecilia then crossed the threshold of 
the door.* We have reason to believe, that, being 
a Christian, she was not compelled to conform to the 
superstitious ceremonies observed by the Eomans, 
at the entrance of a bride under the conjugal roof. 
Those which followed were more congenial to a 
Christian. Water was presented to the bride, as an 
emblem of the purity with which she should be 
adorned ;f a key was placed in her hands, as a sym- 
bol of the interior administration, henceforth confided 
to her care ; J and finally she seated herself for a 
moment upon a fleece,§ to remind her that she must 
not shrink from domestic labor. The bridal party 
then passed into the Triclinium, where the wedding 
supper was served. During the banquet, an epithala- 
mium was sung, celebrating the union of Valerian 
and Cecilia, and a band of musicians made the hall 
re-echo with the harmony of their instruments.! 
During these profane concerts, Cecilia also sang in 
the depth of her heart, and her melody was united 
to that of the angels. She repeated that verse of 

* Transfer omine cum bono 
Limen aureolos pedes, 
Rasilemdue subi forem. 

Catull. Carm. lxi. 
t Festus, on the word Aquce. t Festus, on the word Clavis. 
§ Festus, on the word Pellis. 
|| Ite, concinite in modum : 
Io Hymen Hymenaee io, 
Io Hymen Hymenoee. 

Catull. ibid* 



the Psalmist, so well adapted to her situation : u May 
my heart and my senses remain always pure, 0, my 
God ! and may my chastity be preserved inviolable."* 
The Church has faithfully preserved these words of 
the virgin. They are recited each year, on the day 
of her triumph ; and to honor the sublime concert, 
in which she sang with the celestial spirits, and which 
surpassed all the melodies of earth, she has been 
styled " Queen of Harmony ." 

After the banquet, matrons guided Cecilia's trem- 
bling steps to the door of the nuptial chamber, f deco- 
rated with all the effeminacy of Eoman luxury, and 
rendered still more imposing by its silence and ob- 
scurity.^: Valerian followed the virgin. When they 
were alone, Cecilia, strengthened by divine grace, ad- 
dressed her husband these gentle and touching words : 
" My generous friend, I have a secret to confide to thee ; 
swear that thou wilt respect it."§ Valerian vehemently 
protested that he would preserve the secret of his bride, 
and that nothing should ever force him to reveal it. 
" Listen, then," resumed Cecilia, " I am under the care 
of an angel whom God has appointed protector of my 
virginity. If thou shouldest violate it, his fury will be 

« * Cantantibus organis, Csecilia in corde suo soli Domino de 
cantabat dicens : Fiat cor meum ct corpus meuni immaculatum 
ut non confundar. Acta S. Ccecilice. 

Vos bona) senibus viris 
Cognitse bene fcminae, 
Collocate pucllulam. Catull. Carm. lxi. 
t Sed cum licec agerentur, venit nox in qua suscepit una cum 
sponso suo cubiculi secreta silentia. Ibid. 

§ dulcissime et amantissime juvenis, est mysterium quod 
tibi confiteor, si modo tu juratus asseras tota te illud observantia 
custodire. Ibid. 



enkindled against thee, and thou wilt fall a victim 
to his vengeance. If on the other hand, thou wilt 
respect it, he will favor thee with his love, and obtain 
for thee many blessings."* 

Astonished and agitated, the young man, who was 
unconsciously controlled by grace, replied respect- 
fully : " Cecilia, if thou wishest me to believe thee, 
let me see this angel. When I have seen him, if I 
recognize him as one of God's angels, I will comply 
with thy request ; but if thou lovest another man, 
know that I will destroy both him and thee with my 

Cecilia continued with ineffable authority : " Vale- 
rian, if thou wilt follow my advice, if thou wilt con- 
sent to be purified by the waters of the fountain of 
eternal life, if thou wilt believe in the only true and 
living God who reigns in heaven, thou shalt see my 
guardian angel.";]: " And who will purify me that I 
may see thy Angel?" exclaimed Valerian.§ " There 
is a venerable old man," replied Cecilia, "who puri- 

* Angelum Dei habeo amatorem qui nimio zelo corpus meum 
custodit ; hie si vel leviter senserit quod tu me polluto amore 
contingas, statim circa te suum furorem exagitat, et amittis 
floremtuae gratissimoB juventutis ; si autem cognoverit quod me 
sincero corde et immaculato amore diligas, et virginitatem meam 
integram illibatamque custodias, ita te quoque diligit sicut me, 
et ostendit tibi gratiam suam. Acta S. Ccecilice. 

f Si vis et credam sermonibus tuis, ostende mihi ipsum An- 
gelum et si approbavero quod vere Angelus Dei sit, faciam quod 
hortaris ; si autem virum alterum diligis, et te et ilium gladio 
feriam. Ibid, 

X Si consiliis meis acquiescas, et permittas te purificari fonte 
perenni, et credas unum Deum esse in coelis vivum et verum, 
poteris eum videre. Ibid, 

§ Et quis erit qui me purificet, ut ego angelum videam ? Ibid, 


fies mortals, after which they may see the Angel of * 
God."* " Where shall I find this venerable old man ?" 
cried Valerian. " Go out of the city by the Appian 
Way," replied Cecilia, u as far as the third mile-stone, 
there thou wilt find some poor beggars who ask alms 
of the passers by. These poor creatures are objects 
of my constant solicitude, and my secret is known to 
them. When you approach them, give them my 
blessing, and say to them, Cecilia sends me to you 
and begs you will conduct me to the holy old man 
Urban ; I have a private message to deliver to him. 
When introduced into the presence of the holy man, 
repeat to him what I have just told thee ; he will 
purify thee and clothe thee in new and white garments. 
On thy return to this apartment, thou wilt see the 
holy Angel, who will then be thy friend, and obtain 
for thee all thou desirest."f 

* Est senior qui novit purificare homines, ut mereantur videre 
Angelum Dei. Acta S. Ccecilice. 

f Vade in tertium milliarium ab urbe, via quae Appia nuncu- 
patur ; illic invenies pauperes a transeuntibus alimonise petentes 
auxilium ; de his enim mihi semper cura fuit, et optime hujus 
mei secreti sunt conscii : hos tu dum videris, dabis eis benedic- 
tionem meam, dicens : Caecilia me misit ad vos, ut ostendatis 
mihi sanctum senem Urbanum ; quoniam ad ipsum habeo ejus 
secreta mandata, quae perferam. Hunc tu, dum videris, indica 
ei omnia verba mea, et dum te purificaverit, induet te vesti- 
mentis novis et candidis, cum quibus, mox ut ingressus fueris 
istud cubiculum, videbis angelum sanctum etiam tui amatorem 
effectum, et omnia quae ab ipso poposceris, impetrabis. Ibid. 




Urged by an unknown power, the young Bom an, 
a moment ago so full of fire, quitted without an effort 
the virgin whose gentle accents had softened his heart, 
and before day-break reached Urban, having found 
every thing as Cecilia had predicted. He related to 
the Pontiff his interview with his bride in the nuptial 
chamber, which at once explained his presence. The 
venerable old man, overjoyed at the glad tidings, fell 
upon his knees, and raising his hands to heaven, his 
eyes moistened with tears, exclaimed: "Lord Jesus 
Christ, author of chaste resolves, receive the fruit of 
the divineseed Thou hast sown in the heart of Cecilia. 
Good Shepherd, Cecilia, thy servant, like an innocent 
lamb,* has fulfilled the mission Thou hast confided 
to her. In a moment, she has transformed her hus- 
band from an impetuous lion, into a gentle lamb. 

* Hughes of Saint-Cher, commenting these words of Isaias : 
11 Leo et ovis simul morabuntur," ingeniously applies them to St. 
Cecilia, who, like an innocent Lamb, dwelt with Valerian, 
figured by the Lion. The allusion is equally clear in St Urban's 
words. This renders inexplicable the change which these words 
have undergone in one of the Anthems of St. Cecilia's office, 
where, since the ninth century we read apis, instead of ovis. 
It is evident that the text is modified by this reading, and that 
the thread of the discourse is broken. The Ambrosian Missal, 
in which the words of St. Urban form the Offertory of St. Cecilia's 
Mass, has preserved the lesson ovis, as we read it in the Acts 
of the Saint. St. Bernard likewise read it so, as we see by a 
very pointed allusion, in his life of Saint Malachy. 


If Yalerian did not already believe lie would not be 
here. Oh, Lord ! open the ear of his heart to Thy 
words, that he may acknowledge Thee, his Creator, 
and that he may forever renounce the devil, his 
pomps, and his idols."* 

Urban remained a long time in prayer ; Valerian 
was deeply touched. Suddenly, a venerable old man, 
with garments white as snow, appeared before them, 
holding in his hand a book, written in characters of 
gold. It was the great Apostle of the Gentiles, St. 
Paul, the second pillar of the Eoman Church. At 
this imposing sight, Valerian, half dead with terror, 
fell prostrate upon the ground. The august old man 
kindly assisted him to rise, saying, "Bead this book 
and believe. Thou wilt then be worthy of being 
purified, and of contemplating the Angel whom 
Cecilia promised thou shouldst see."f 

Valerian raised his eyes, and without pronouncing 
the words, commenced to read the following passage : 
"One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and 
Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and 

* Domine Jesu Christe, seminator casti consilii, suscipe se- 
minum fructus quos in CoBcilia seminasti. Domine Jesu Christe, 
Pastor bone, Caecilia famula tua, quasi ovis argumentosa tibi 
deservit ; nam sponsum, quern quasi leonem ferocem accepit, ad 
te Domine, quasi agnum mansuetissimum destinavit ; iste hue, 
nisi crederit, non venisset : aperi ergo Domine cordis ejus januarn 
sermonibus tuis, ut te Creatorem suum esse cognoscens, re- 
nuntiet Diabolo, et pompis ejus, et idolis ejus. Acta S. Ccecelicc. 

t Lege hujus libri textum, et crede, ut purificari merearis, 
et videre angelum,cujus tibi aspectum Caecilia virgo devotissima 
repromisit. Ibid. 


in us all."* When tie had finished reading, the old 
man said to him : " Believest thou this ?" Valerian 
energetically exclaimed : " There is nothing more 
true under heaven ; nothing which should be more 
firmly believed." f As he ceased speaking, the old 
man disappeared and left Valerian alone with the 
Pontiff. St. Urban at once conducted the young man 
to the fountain of salvation, and after admitting him 
to the most august mysteries of the faith of Christ, 
told him to return to his bride. 

Cecilia had conquered, and the first trophy of her 
victory, was the heart of Valerian, offered to the 
Saviour of mankind. During the absence of her 
husband, she had not left the nuptial chamber, still 
re-echoing with the sublime converse of the preced- 
ing night, and redolent with the celestial perfume of 
virginity. She had unceasingly prayed for the con- 
summation of the great work, her words had com- 
menced, and she awaited with confidence the return 
of a husband who would henceforth be dearer to her 
than ever. 

Valerian, habited in the white garment of the 
neophytes:}: which he had just assumed, § reached the 

* Unus Dominus, una fides, unum baptisma, unus Deus, et 
Pater omnium, qui super omnia, et in omnibus nobis est. Acta 
T #. CcEcilice. 

f Cumque hoc infra se legisset, dicit ei senior : Credis ita 
esse, an adhuc dubitas ? Tunc Valerianus voce magna clainavit 
dicens : Non est aliud, quod verius possit credi sub coelo. Ibid. 

t It should not be a matter of surprise that Valerian wore his 
white dress through the streets of Rome. Garments of this 
color were not unusual in a city, peopled by men of every nation, 
gome of whom continually wore white. 

§ Veniens igitur Valerianus indutus candidis vestimentis. Ibid. 


door of the chamber, and glancing respectfully around 
the room, beheld Cecilia prostrate in prayer, and, 
by her side, the Angel of the Lord, his face resplen- 
dent as lightning, his wings brilliant with the most 
gorgeous colors. The blessed spirit held in his hand, 
two crowns interwoven with roses and lilies,* one of 
which he placed upon the head of Cecilia, and the 
other upon that of Valerian, whilst with the musical 
accents of heaven, he said. kl Merit to preserve these 
crowns, by the purity of your hearts, and the sanctity 
of your bodies. I bring them fresh from the garden 
of Heaven. These flowers will never fade, nor lose 
their celestial fragrance ; but no one can see them, 
who has not endeared himself to Heaven, as you 
have done, by virginal purity. And now, Valerian, 
as a reward for thy acquiescence in the chaste desires 
of Cecilia, Christ the Son of God, has sent me to thee, 
to receive any request thou dost wish to make him."f 
The young man, overcome with gratitude, threw 
himself at the feet of the divine messenger, and thus 
expressed his desires : " Nothing in life is more 
precious to me than the affection of my brother, and 
now that I am rescued from peril, it would be a 

* Cseciliam intra cubiculum orantem invenit, et stantem 
juxta earn Angelum Domini pennis fulgentibus alas habentem, 
et flameo as'pectu radientem, duas coronas habentem in manibns 
coruscantes rosis, et liliis albescentes. Acta S. Ccecili(e. 

f Istas coronas immaculato corde, et mundo corpore custo- 
dite, quia do paradiso Dei eas ad vos attuli, et hoc vobis signum 
erit, numquam marcidum aspectus sui adhibent floreni, nunquani 
sni minunt snavitatem odoris, ncc ab alio videri poteruunt, nisi 
ab eis quibus ita castitas placuerit sicut vobis probata est pla- 
cuisse. Et quia tu, Valeriane, consensisti consilio castitatis, 
misit me Christus Filius Dei ad te, ut quam volueris, petitionee 
insinues Ibid. 


bitter trial to leave this beloved brother exposed to 
danger. I will, therefore, reduce m} r requests to one ; 
I beseech Christ to deliver my brother, Tiburtius, as 
he has delivered me, and to perfect us both in the 
confession of His name."* The angel, turning 
towards Valerian, his face radiant with that heavenly 
joy which the celestial spirits experience when a 
sinner is converted to God, replied, " Since thou 
hast asked a favor which Christ is much more eager 
to grant, than thou to desire it, thou shalt gain the 
heart of thy brother as Cecilia has won thine, and 
both shall receive the palm of martyrdom."! 

As he concluded these words, the angel ascended 
to heaven, leaving Cecilia and her husband trans- 
ported with happiness. Cecilia glorified the Master 
of hearts, who had so brilliantly displayed the riches 
of His mercy. She trembled with joy in seeing that 
Valerian's crown was, like her own, intertwined with 
roses and lilies, as a proof that he also would receive 
the honor of martyrdom. Tiburtius was to share 
the palm with his brother, but the happy prediction 
had not been extended to her. She was destined 
then to survive the brothers, and assist them in their 
combat ; beyond this the decrees of heaven had not 

* Nihil mihi in ista vita dulcius extitit, quam unions mei fra- 
tris affectus, et inipinm mihi est, ut me liberato, germanum 
menm in pericnlo perditionis aspiciam ; hoc solum omnibus pe- 
titionibus meis antepono, et deprecor, ut fratrem meum Tibur- 
tium, sicut me, liberare dignetur, et faciat nos ambos in sui 
nominis confessione perfectos. Acta S. Cwcilice. 

f Audiens haec angelus laetissimo vultu dixit adeum: Quoniam 
hoc petisti, quod melius quam te Christum implere delectat, 
sicut te per famulam suam CaEcilium lucratus est Christus ; ita 
per te quoque tuum lucrabitur fratrem, et cum eodem ad mar- 
tyrii palmam pervenies. Ibid. 


been revealed. Valerian and Cecilia spent the ensu- 
ing hours in pious conversation, encouraging each 
other to merit the crowns which the Angel had placed 
upon their brows. The neophyte, filled with the 
divine love which participation in the sacred mys- 
teries had kindled in his heart, spoke with the fer- 
vor of a recent convert ; Cecilia, initiated from her 
infancy in the doctrine of salvation, expressed her- 
self with the experience and authority of a tried 
Christian. In the midst of this holy conversation, 
Tiburtius, impatient to see his brother, entered, and 
interrupted a colloquy worthy of angels. Saluting 
Cecilia, the wife of his beloved brother, he respect- 
fully approached and imprinted upon her forehead 
a fraternal kiss;* but w r hat was his surprise in per- 
ceiving the most delightful perfume issuing from 
her hair. " Cecilia I" cried he, " whence comes this 
delicious odor of roses and lilies, at this season of the 
year? Were I to hold in my hand a boquet of the 
most fragrant flowers, their perfume would not equal 
that which I now inhale. It is so marvellous that 
it seems to renew my whole being."*!* " It is I, 
O Tibertius," replied Valerian, J " who have ob- 

* Illis epulantibus in Christo, atque in sedificatione sancta 
sermocinantibns, Tiburtius Valerianifrateradvenit, et ingressus 
est quasi ad cognatam suam, osculatus est caput sancta? Caeciliae, 
et ait, etc. Acta S. Cvecilice, 

f Miror hoc tempore roseus hie odor et liliorum unde respiret ; 
nam si tenerem ipsas rosas, aut ipsa lilia in manibus meis, nee 
sic potuernnt odoramenta mihi tantae suavitatis intundere ; con- 
fiteor vobis, ita sum refectus, ut putem me totum subito reno- 
vatum. Iibd. 

t It is almost useless to observe that Valerian, under this 
figurative language, referred to the mystery of the Blessed 



tained for thee the favor of enjoying this sweet odor, 
and if thou wilt only believe, thou wilt also see the 
flowers whence it comes. Thou wilt then know Him 
whose blood is crimson as roses, whose flesh is white 
as lilies. Cecilia and I wear crowns which thy eyes 
cannot yet behold. The flowers of which they are 
composed, are brilliant as purple, and spotless as 
snow."* " Is this all a dream, Valerian, or art thou 
speaking the truth ?" cried Tiburtius. " Until now," 
replied Valerian, " our whole life has been a dream. 
At last we have discovered the truth, and there is 
no deceit in us ; the gods we adored are but devils." 
11 How dost thou know this?" asked Tiburtius. 
Valerian answered : " The Angel of God instructed 
me, and thou canst also see this blessed spirit if thou 
wilt consent to be purified from the stain of idolatry." 
11 How long," demanded Tiburtius, " must I wait for 
this purification which will render me worthy of 
beholding the Angel of God?" "A very short 
time," replied Valerian; "only swear to me that 
thou dost renounce the idols and acknowledge there 
. is one only God, who dwells in heaven." " I cannot 
understand," cried Tiburtius, " why thou dost exact 
of me this promise." 

Eucharist, which was concealed from the Pagans, and revealed 
to the Catechumens only a few days before their baptism. 

* Odorem quidem meruisti, me interpellate, suscipere, 
modo te credente promereberis etiam ipso roseo aspectu gaudere, 
et intelligere cujus in rosis sanguis florescit, et in liliis cujus 
corpus albescit ; coronas enim habemus, quas tui oculi videre 
non prevalent, floreo rubore, et niveo candore vernantes. 
Acta S. Ccecilice. 




Cecilia had maintained perfect silence during the 
dialogue between the brothers : the ardent zeal of 
Valerian had left her no time to speak, and besides, it 
was but proper that he should be the first to address 
his brother. But the virgin, who had been nourished 
from her childhood in the evangelical doctrine, 
understood much better than her husband, how to 
convert a Gentile from the errors of idolatry. Eecall- 
ing the arguments employed against idols, by the 
ancient prophets, the Christian apologists, and the 
martyrs, Cecilia thus spoke : 

M I am astonished, Tiburtius, that thou hast not 
already understood that statues of clay, wood, stone, 
brass, or any other metal, cannot be gods. How can 
any one esteem as gods, vain idols, upon which 
spiders spin their webs, and birds build their nests?* 
Statues, composed of materials drawn from the earth 
by the hand of malefactors, condemned to the mines. 
Tell me, Tiburtius, is there any difference between 
a corpse and an idol ? A corpse has all its members, 

* The Pagans surrounded the heads of their divinities with 
a nimbus to protect them from being injured by the weather, or 
by the birds of which Cecilia speaks. The nimbus, found in 
Egypt and among the Etruscans, at a later period, was considered 
a mark of veneration to the statue which it adorned ; but Tibul- 
lus and Horace speak of the nimbus in its original signification. 
Cecilia's invective is an additional proof of the antiquity of our 


yet it possesses neither breath, voice, nor feeling. 
An idol also has all its members, but those members 
are incapable of action, and, consequently, far inferior 
to those of a dead man. At least, during his life, 
the eyes, ears, mouth, nose, feet, and hands of the 
man, fulfilled their office; but the idol began with 
death, and remained dead ; it never lived, nor even 
had the power to live.' 1 * 

Tiburtius, suddenly impressed with the emptiness 
of the idols before which he had offered incense, ex- 
claimed : " Yes, it is so, and he who does not under- 
stand it, is upon a level with the brutes.f" Cecilia, 
overcome with joy at this reply, pressed to her heart 
the pagan who already commenced to see the light. 
11 1 recognize thee as my brother !" she exclaimed. 
11 The love of Christ has made Valerian my husband ; 
the contempt thou dost profess for idols, makes me 
truly thy sister. The moment has arrived when thou 
wilt believe ; go then, with thy brother, and receive 
the sacrament of regeneration. Thou shalt then see 
the angel, and obtain forgiveness for all thy sins."J 

Tiburtius then turned to Valerian "who is the 
man to whom thou wilt conduct me?" " A great 
personage," replied Valerian ; " he is called Urban ; 

* Acta S. Ccecilice. 

\ Tunc cum omni alacritate Tiburtius ait : Qui ita non credit 
pecus est. Ibid, 

X Hsec dicente Tiburtio, Sancta Coecilia osculato est pectus 
ejus, et dixit: hodie ineum te fateor vere esse cognatum ; sicut 
enim mihi amor Domini fratrem tuum conjugem fecit, ita te 
mihi cognatum contemptus faciet idolorum : unde quia paratus 
es ad credendum, vade cum fratre tuo ut purificationem accipias, 
per duam inerearis angelicos vuitus aspicere, et omnium tuarum 
veniam invenire culparum. Ibid, 


he is a venerable old man, with white hair, an angelic 
countenance, and whose conversation is full of truth 
and wisdom." " Can it be," said Tiburtius, "the 
Urban whom the Christians call their Pope? I have 
heard that he has already been twice condemned, 
and that he is concealed in some subterranean vaults, 
I know not where. If he be discovered, he will be 
cast to the flames, and if we are found with him, we 
will share his fate. Thus in recompense for seeking 
a divinity concealed in Heaven, we will suffer upon 
earth cruel torments."* 

Although Tiburtius had learned to despise the idols, 
he did not yet contemn the sufferings of this world. 
Cecilia came to his assistance. "If this life were 
the only one," said she, " if there were no other, we 
would be reasonable in fearing to lose it; but if there 
be another life which will never end, should we dread 
losing that which is transitory, when at the price of 
this sacrifice, we shall win that which will last 

Such language was very novel to a young man 
educated in the Eoman society of the III. century, a 

* Tunc dicit fratri suo Tiburtius : Obsecro, frater, ut dicas 
mihi ad quern me ducturus es ? Respondit Valerianus : Ad mag- 
num virum, Urbanum nomine, in quo est aspectus angelicus, et 
veneranda canities, sermo verus, et sapientia conditus. Dicit ei 
Tiburtius : Tu ilium Urbanum dicis, quern Papam suum Chris- 
tiani nominant ? Hunc ego audivi jam secundo damnatum, et 
iteruin pro ipsa re qua damnatus est latebram sui proecavere 
fovendo ; iste si inventus fuerit, sine dubio atrocibus dabitur 
flammis, et, ut dicisolet, centenas exolvet, et nos simul cremabi- 
mur, si ad ilium fuerimus inventi, et dum qu 86 rim us divinitatem 
in coelis latentem, incurrimus furorem exurentem in terris. 
Acta S. Ccecilice. 


society, remarkable alike for the most humiliating 
superstitious, a corruption of morals worthy of 
Heliogabalus, and all the aberrations of sceptical 
philosophy ; he therefore replied to the young virgin. 
" I have never heard such a doctrine; can there be 
another life after this!" "But," answered Cecilia, 
" is the life we possess in this world, worthy the 
name? After having been the sport of every suf- 
fering, both of soul and body, it terminates in death 
which puts an end to its pleasures, and its pains. 
When it ceases, we can scarcely believe it has ever 
existed ; for that which is gone forever, is as nothing. 
As to the second life which succeeds the first, it has 
endless joys for the just, eternal torments for the 
wicked." " But who has lived this life?" asked Ti- 
burtius, " who has returned to tell us what passes 
there? Upon whose testimony can we believe it?" 
Then Cecilia, rising with the majesty of an Apostle, 
uttered these 'forcible words :* " The Creator of hea- 
ven and earth and of all they contain, engendered a 
Son out of His own substance, before all beings, and 
by His divine virtue produced the Holy Ghost ; the 
Son, that through Him, He might create all things ; 
the Holy Ghost, that He might vivify them. All that 
exists, the Son of God, engendered by the Father, has 
created ; all that is created, the Holy Ghost, who pro- 
ceeds from the Father, f has animated.";]: 

* Tunc beata Caecilia erigens se stetit, et cum magna con- 
stantia dixit. Acta S. Ccecilice. 

t St. Cecilia speaks twice of the Holy Ghost as proceeding 
from the Father, without saying that He also proceeds from the 
Son. Such was the language of the primitive Church, which 
rarely insisted upon the procession of the Holy Ghost with 


"But how is this, Cecilia P cried Tiburtius; "a 
moment ago thou did'st say we should believe in one 
only God, who is in heaven, and now thou speakest 
of three Gods." Cecilia replied : " There is but one 
God in His majesty, and if thou wouldst understand 
how He exists in the Holy Trinity, listen to this com- 
parison. A man possesses wisdom ; by wisdom we 
mean genius, memory, and understanding; genius, 
which discerns truths ; memory, which retains them ; 
and understanding, which examines them. Do we 
then believe the same man possesses three different 
kinds of wisdom, or do we not rather say that he 
exercises his wisdom by three separate faculties? 
How then can we hesitate to acknowledge a ma- 
jestic Trinity in the essential unity of the omnipotent 

Tiburtius, dazzled by the brilliancy of so august a 
mystery, exclaimed : " O, Cecilia ! a human tongue 
could not give such enlightened explanations ; the 
angel of God speaks by thy mouth [" Such was the 

respect to the Son. This is not the proper place to explain the 
reasons which rendered the confessions of the Church less ex- 
plicit, upon this dogma, during the early ages. These words 
of the Saint, are an additional proof of the antiquity of our 

} Cceli, terrseque, maris, et omnium volucrum, repentium, 
pecudumque creator ex se ipso antequam ista omnia faceret, 
genuit Filium, et protulit ex virtute sua Spiritum sanctum ; 
Filium ut crearet omnia ; Spiritum, ut vivificaret universa ; om- 
nia autem quae sunt, Filius ex Patrie genitus condidit ; universa 
autem quaxondita sunt, ex Patrie procedens Spiritus sanctus 
animavit. Acta S. C&cilim. 

* Unus est Deus in maj estate aua, quern ita in sancta Tri- 
nitate dividimus, ut in uno hoinine dicimus esse sapientiam, 
quam sapientiam dicimus habere ingenium, memoriam et intel- 


lively gratitude with which this young man wel- 
comed the divine light that was beginning to dawn 
upon his soul. He did not venture again to address 
the virgin, the interpreter of heaven ; but turning 
towards his brother Valerian, he said : "I willingly 
confess, the mystery of one only God no longer arrests 
me ; I desire but one thing, to hear the continuation 
of this discourse which will satisfy all my doubts." 
11 Thou should'st apply to me, Tiburtius," said Cecilia, 
" thy brother, newly clothed in his baptismal robe, is 
unable to answer all thy questions. But I have been 
instructed from my cradle in the wisdom of Christ ; 
thou wilt find me ready to* solve all the difficulties 
thou may'st wish to propose."* " Well," answered 
Tiburtius, " I wish to know who has told you of that 
other life of which you both speak?" 

The virgin, resuming her discourse with divine 
enthusiasm, continued : " The Father sent His only 
Son from heaven to earth to be conceived in the 
womb of a virgin. This divine Son, from the sum- 
mit of a mountain, proclaimed these words ; ' Come 
ye all to me." At once, people of every age and 
condition hastened to Him. He then said to them ; 

lectum : nam ingenio adinveninius quodnos didicimus : memoria 
tenemus quod docemur ; intellectu advertimus quicquid vel 
videre nobis contigerit, vel audire ; quid modo faciemus ? Num- 
quid non ista tria una sapientia in homine possidet? Si ergo 
homo in una sapientia trium possidet numerum, quomodo non 
Deus omnipotens in una Deitate suae Trinitatis obtinet majes- 
tatem ? Acta S. Ccecilice. 

* De his mecum loquere, quia tyrocinii tempus fratrem ttium 
tibi prohibet dare responsum : me antem, quam ab ipsis incuna- 
bulis Christi sapientia docuit, ad quameumque causam quaerere 
volueris, imparatam habere non poteris. Ibid. 


1 Do penance for the sins of which you have been 
guilty ; for the kingdom of God which will put an 
end to the kingdom of men is at hand. God will 
admit into this kingdom those who have believed, 
and will confer the highest honors upon those who 
have been most holy. The wicked shall be punished 
with eternal torments ; they shall be devoured by 
fire, but shall never be consumed. The just shall 
be surrounded with an eternal splendor of glory, and 
endless delights shall be their portion. Seek no 
longer, children of men, the fleeting joys of this 
life; but ensure for yourselves the eternal felicity of 
the life to come. The former is short, the latter will 
last forever.' The nations did not at first believe in 
this oracle ; they asked: ' Who has entered into this 
life and returned to certify to us the truth of what 
thou sayest ?' The Son of God replied : * If I raise 
from the dead, those whom you yourselves have 
buried, will you still refuse to believe the truth? If 
you will not believe my words, at least believe my 
miracles.'* To prove the truth of His words, He, 

* It is easy to perceive that St. Cecilia, in her oratorical dis- 
course, announces evangelical facts in a general way, not literally 
conformable to the New Testament. Our Saviour did not address 
the whole human race, but only the Jewish nation. We must 
acknowledge, however, that in speaking to the Jews, He came 
for all, and intended that His law should be preached to all. If 
Cecilia had spoken in a less general manner, Tiburtius would 
not have understood the explanation she gave him. Thus the 
Jews, as a nation, did not make to our Saviour the objection of 
which Cecilia speaks, but the Gentiles, to whom the Apostles 
preached, frequently alleged it. It is likewise true that at the 
time of the advent of the Messiah, materialism had made con- 
siderable progress among the Jews. The Sadducees, in particu- 
lar, professed the grossest sensualism, and the number of carnal 
Jews far exceeded that of the spiritual. 


in presence of the people, raised to life persons who 
had been buried three or four days, and whose bodies 
had already become putrified. He walked upon the 
sea, commanded the wind, stilled tempests. He re- 
stored sight to the blind, speech to the dumb, hear- 
ing to the deaf, the use of their limbs to the lame and 
paralytic; he put the devils to flight, and delivered 
the possessed. 

"The impious were irritated at these miracles, 
because the people left them to attach themselves to 
Him, and threw their garments under His feet, ex- 
claiming: ' Blessed is He who cometh in the name 
of the Lord.* Men, called Pharisees, jealous of his 
success, betrayed Him to the governor, Pilate, say- 
ing that He was a magician and a man guilty of 
every crime. They excited a tumultuous sedition, 
in the midst of which they crucified Him. Knowing 
that His death would effect the salvation of the 
world, He permitted Himself to be taken, insulted, 
scourged, and put to death. He knew that His 
passion alone could chain the devil, and confine the 
"unclean spirits in their place of punishment. He, 
therefore, who had never committed sin, was loaded 
with chains, in order that the human race might be 
delivered from the bonds of sin. He who is forever 
blessed was cursed, that we might be freed from 
malediction. He suffered Himself to be the sport of 
the wicked, to snatch us from the illusions of the 
devil whose playthings we were. lie was crowned 
with a crown of thorns, to deliver us from the capi- 
tal punishment which the thorns of our sins had 
merited. He tasted the gall presented Him, in older 


to expiate the sensuality of our first parents, by 
which sin had entered into the world. In His thirst 
they gave Him vinegar to drink, and He willingly 
accepted it, for it was His wish to drain the chalice 
we had merited. He was stripped of His garments, 
that He might cover with a robe of dazzling 
whiteness, the nudity produced in our first parents 
by the serpent's perfidy. He was nailed to the 
tree of the Cross to take away the prevarication 
which had come by a tree. He permitted death to 
approach Him, that it might be overthrown in the 
struggle ; and that, as it had reigned by the serpent, 
it might become with the serpent, the captive of 
Christ. Finally, when the elements contemplated 
their Creator, elevated upon the cross, they were 
seized with fear ; the earth quaked, the rocks were 
rent, the sun was obscured, and darkness covered the 
whole world. A bloody cloud intercepted the pale 
rays of the moon, and the stars disappeared from the 
heavens. The graves were opened, and many bodies 
of the saints that had slept, arose, to attest that the 
Saviour had descended into hell, that He had snatched 
the devil's sceptre from his hands, and that in dying 
he had conquered death, which henceforth should be 
chained under the feet of those who should believe 
in Him. 

"Now thou seest why we rejoice when we are ill- 
treated for His sake, and why we glory in persecu- 
tion. It should be thus, since we know that this 
perishable and miserable life will be followed by 
the eternal life, which the Son of God promised to 
His Apostles, after His resurrection, before ascend 


ing to heaven. The testimony of three persons is 
sufficient to satisfy a wise man, but Christ, after His 
resurrection, appeared not only to His twelve apos- 
tles, but to more than five hundred persons, that there 
might not be the slightest pretext for doubting so 
astonishing a prodigy. His disciples who were sent 
by Him to preach these marvels throughout the 
entire world, supported their doctrine by the most 
evident miracles. In his name, they cured all kinds 
of diseases, cast out devils, and raised the dead to 
life. I think, Tiburtius, I have now fully answered 
thy questions ; reflect if it be not well to contemn 
the present life, and seek with ardor and courage 
that which will follow. He who believes in the Son 
of God, and observes His commandments, will not 
die when his perishable body is placed in the tomb; 
he will be received by the holy angels, and conducted 
to Paradise. But death and hell combine to distract 
man with a thousand useless cares, and to engage 
his thoughts with a multitude of imaginary wants. 
Sometimes he is intimidated by an approaching mis- 
fortune ; at others, seized with a desire of wealth ; 
again, he is fascinated with sensual beauty, or lured 
by intemperance ; in fine, by inducing man to aban- 
don himself to the free gratification of his carnal 
appetite, death successfully produces such a total 
forgetfulness of the future, that his soul, when sepa- 
rated from the body, is found entirely void of merit, 
loaded only with the overpowering weight of sin. 
I feel, Tiburtius, that I have merely touched upon a 
few points of this grand subject; if thou wishest me 
to continue, I am at thy service.*" But the young 

* Acta S. Ccecilice. 


Pagan had understood every thing, and the rapid 
discourse of Cecilia had completely changed his soul. 
His tears flowed abundantly, and his heart was rent 
with sighs. His soul had not been hardened by the 
vices which spring from the love of pleasure or of 
wealth. "If ever," he cried, throwing himself at 
Cecilia's feet, " my heart or my thoughts cling to 
this life, I consent not to enjoy that which will fol- 
low. Let the giddy and thoughtless revel if they 
will, in the senseless pleasures of the present ; until 
now I have lived without an object : it shall not be 
so henceforth."* After having made this promise to 
the virgin, Tiburtius turned to Valerian. " My dear 
brother," he exclaimed, " take pity on me ; delay no 
longer ; every detention alarms me, and I can no 
longer support the weight which overpowers me. I 
beseech thee to conduct me immediately to the man 
of God, that he may purify me, and render me a par- 
ticipant of that life, the desire of which already con- 
sumes my heart."f But two days had elapsed since 
the marriage of Cecilia, when Tiburtius received the 
grace of baptism, and thus, Christian virginity reaped 
its glorious fruit. " The faithful wife," as St. Paul 
had said, :: sancxiiied the unbelieving husband,";]: who 
by the merit of his faith, obtained the conversion 

* Si de ista vita ulterius, vel mente tractavero, vel cogitavero, 
vel cogitatione qusesierc, in ilia vita non inveniar ; habeant 
stulti lucrum labentis temporis, ego qui usque hodie sine causa 
vixi, jam non sit sine causa quod vivo. Acta S. Ccecilh*. 

f Miserere mei, f rater charissime, et rumpe moras, quarum 
nexus patior ; dilationes timeo, pondus ferre non possum : ob- 
hecro te, perdue me ad hominem Dei, ut me purificans ilius 
vitae participem faciat. Ibid. t Cor. vii. 14. 



of his brother. Valerian and Tiburtius took leave 
of Cecilia, whose presence in this once Pagan house, 
had been the pledge of so many favors, and hastily 
set out in search of Urban. With what joy the 
angels must have gazed upon these two brothers, 
wending their steps toward the Appian Way, one 
clothed in his baptismal robe, the other panting like 
a hart for the waters of the fountain.* 

When they reached the Pontiff, they related all 
that had occurred since the neophyte's return to his 
bride, and the holy old man rendered thanks to God 
for having reserved such glorious triumphs for his faith- 
ful servant. He received Tiburtius with joy, and the 
young man soon descended into the pool of salvation, 
whence he returned, purified, relieved of his burden, 
breathing with delight the pure air of the new life 
which he had so ardently longed to embrace. Vale- 
rian returned to Cecilia, after accomplishing the seven 
days, during which, according to custom, he wore the 
white robes. The Pontiff retained Tiburtius during 
these seven days, and, by the unction of the Holy 
Ghost, consecrated him a soldier of Christ. The. 
young man was completely changed ; the symbolical 
palms and crowns which he had seen engraved upon 
the martyrs' tombs, excited new ardor in his soul ; 
he may, perhaps, have had some presentiment that 
the day was not far distant when his own mortal 
remains, and those of Valerian, would be buried by 
Cecilia under the funereal arches where he had re- 
ceived the mystery of his regeneration. In awaiting 
this glorious consummation, the angels of God fre- 
* Ps. xli. 1. 


quently visited and conversed with him. If he 
breathed a desire to heaven, these celestial messen- 
gers hastened to obtain it for him whom they already 
considered their brother.* 

Cecilia and Valerian admired the marvels of divine 
grace in the heart of Tiburtius, and the bonds which 
united the three friends were strengthened each day. 
The influence of this holy house was sensibly felt 
throughout Borne, and the Christians rejoiced in the 
honor reflected upon their faith by the noble exam- 
ple of virtue, daily given by this patrician family, 
which esteemed itself so happy in having become a 
part of the family of Christ. Cecilia, however, by 
the influence of her character, and the masculine elo- 
quence of her words, seemed to be the presiding 
spirit. She was no longer the timid virgin, aban- 
doned by her parents to an idolatrous husband ; 
henceforth, armed for every kind of struggle, ready 
for every combat, and shrinking from no act of de- 
votedness, she was one of the most solid supports of 
the Church of Eome. 

Having become the dispensatrix of a large fortune, 
she was enabled to satisfy her ardent love for the 
poor of Christ. She, nevertheless, without detriment 
to her humility, or to Christian modesty, continued to 
wear the dress and ornaments suitable to her rank.f 

* Tantam deinceps gratiam consecutus est Domini, ut et 
Angelos Domini videret quotidie, et omnium quae poposcisset a 
Domino protinus eveniret effectus. Acta sanctce Ctvcilice. 

f Several portraits may be seen in the Catacombs, of female 
martyrs richly attired; these frescoes date back to the third 
century. Two figures in the cemetery of Priscilla in the Sala- 
rian Way, have been reproduced by Agincourt. (Histoire de 


Superior to the vanities of her sex, trampling under 
foot the world and its pomp, sighing day and night 
for the moment when her celestial Spouse would 
deliver her from this body of death, Cecilia could not 
be ranked among the Christian women, who, slaves 
to dress and fashion, merited the invectives of Ter- 
tullian. " I do not know," he had said to them, " if 
hands accustomed to bracelets, can support chains ; 
if feet adorned with anklets, can support the pressure 
of manacles. I fear that heads covered with a net- 
work of pearls and precious stones, will scarcely leave 
room for the sword."* In fact, Christian women 
ought never to lose sight of the moment when they 
might be summoned to confess their faith in Jesus 
Christ. Cecilia ardently sighed for it ; she longed to 
divest herself of the world's livery, to be clothed 
with a nuptial robe purpled with her blood. In the 
meantime, she continued to mortify her innocent 
body, by a rough hair shirt which she concealed 
under her rich, luxurious garments. 

l'Art par les monuments. Peinture. Planche viii ) The invec- 
tives of Tertullian in his work De cultu fccminarum., likewise 
attests the custom sanctioned by the example of many Christian 
ladies, of wearing the garments used before their baptism. The 
bearing of this remark will be apparent in the continuation of 
our history. 

* Ceterum nescio an manus spatalio circumdari solita in duri- 
tiam catenae stupescere sustineat. Nescio an crus periscelio 
laetatum in nervum se patiatur arctari. Timeo cervicem, ne 
margaritarum et smaragdorum laqueis occupata, locum spatae 
non det. De cultu fcemnarum. Cap. xiii. 






It was now spring, and, according to custom, the 
Eoman army was about to commence its summer 
campaign. Whether the war undertaken by Alexan- 
der against the Persians broke out this year,* or 
whether his arms were directed against other enemies, 
certain it is that he absented himself from Borne with 
so much solemnity, that the medals of his reign have 
left a memorial of it to posterity. The Prefectf of 
Eome at this time, was Turcius Almachius, a man 
well known by the hatred he bore the Christians. As 
we have before stated, antipathy against the new reli- 
gion was so violently fermenting in the hearts of the 

* We are rather inclined to agree with Pagi and F. Blanchini 
that in this year, 230, Alexander was engaged in an expedition 
against the Persians ; however this may be, the monuments of 
the epoch prove that there was an expedition to the East, and a 
victorious return. Mezzabarba refers to this year the three 
following medals ; the first, upon which the prince is designated : 
IMP. CES. ALEXAND.AUG, presents a sun rising 
tin the east. The two others represent — one, Alexander, holding 
a laurel branch and a standard ; the other, the victorious Em- 
peror, surrounded by soldiers, and borne on a triumphal chariot. 
Ekkel is nol so positive as Mezzabarba, regarding the precise 
dates of these medals, but he formally admits that Alexander 
may have gone to the East in 230. This concession, joined to 
the positive assertion of the authors mentioned above, is suffi- 
cient to render our history perfectly clear. 

t The Prefect of Rome, Prasfectus Urbis, exercised a purely 
civil magistracy, and should not be confounded with the Prefect 
of the Praitorium. 



first magistrates of the empire, that they could scarce- 
ly support the tolerance, imposed upon them by the 
personal conduct of the Emperor. The moment was 
therefore most favorable to persecute the odious sect, 
and Alexander's character gave little reason to fear 
his serious displeasure. The ancient edicts were still 
in force, and the prince was not a man to acknowl- 
edge in favor of the Christians, a patronage rejected 
by the laws of the empire. Besides, there would be 
sufficient time to throw the blame upon the Christ- 
ians themselves, since the presence and progress of 
these enemies of the human race were naturally cal- 
culated to rouse the passions of the people, and thus 
occasion a sedition which would render it the magis- 
trate's duty to punish those, who, if not its authors, 
were at least the eternal pretext for disturbance. 

Almachius first directed his violence against the 
great body of Christians who belonged to the plebian 
order. The carnage was very great, the more so as 
the prefect did not fear their opposition. Not satis- 
fied with mangling their bodies by every species of 
torture, Almachius also resolved that they should not 
be interred.* The first Christians were most zealous 
in burying their brother martyrs, and many among 
them obtained the crown of martyrdom in accomplish- 
ing this pious duty. 

The city of the glorious dead already extended its 
vast and gloomy ways all around the ramparts of 
Eome, of which it formed the invisible bulwark. 

* Turcius Almachius Urbis Prsefectus Sanctos Domini fortiter 
laniabat, et inhumata jubebat eorum corpora derelinqui. Acta 
SancUB Cceciliaz, 


Nevertheless its avenues, although crossed in every 
direction, were not yet sufficiently large for the 
numerous soldiers of Christ who were to be immo- 
lated in the terrible persecutions of Maximinus, De- 
cius, and Diocletian. There reposed in peace, * that 
valorous phalanx of soldiers whose blood had cemented 
the edifice of the church ; but the tempest roused by 
Almachius would have rendered it necessary to com- 
press still more the already crowded ranks of this 
silent dwelling, had not Urban's predecessor, St. Cal- 
listus, foreseen in his pastoral zeal this necessity, and 
excavated that vast cemetery of the Appian Way, to 
which as we have previously stated, his name is 
attached.f The Christians who devoted themselves 
to the touching and perilous ministry of burying the 
martyrs, frequently purchased with gold the remains 
of their brothers. They lovingly re-united the limbs 
separated by the sword, and gathered the blood with 
sponges which they afterwards pressed into vials or 
ampullse ; and to preserve for Christian posterity the 
full testimonials of the martyrs' victory, they sought 
diligently even for the instruments of torture. New 
Eome was destined to repose upon this superhuman 
foundation, that the hand of God, and not that of man, 

* In pace. These two words, so frequently engraven on the 
tombs of the martyrs, exprass the repose to which the first Chris- 
tians aspired after their combats. They are taken from the 
words of Ecclesiasticus. (xliv. 14). Corpora ipsorum, in pace 
sepulta sunt. Which the Roman church still chants in the office 
of martyrs. 

f Fecit aliud ccemeterium Via Appia, ubi multi Sacerdotes et 
Martyresrequiescunt, quod appellatur usque inhodiernum diem 
Caiineterium Callisti. Anastas. in Calixto, 


might be evident in the astonishing transformation 
which was soon to take place. 

Valerian and Tiburtius distinguished themselves 
among all the Christians of Eome by their zeal in 
gathering the bodies of the martyrs. They spent 
their wealth in preparing places of interment for these 
generous athletes, poor according to the flesh, but 
already kings in the palaces of heaven. Eager to 
testify their respect for these precious remains, they 
anointed them with the richest perfumes,* whilst at 
the same time by abundant alms they provided for 
those families, who, by the loss of their principal mem- 
bers, had been deprived of the means of subsistance. 

The two brothers were soon denounced to the pre- 
fect, both for their donations to the lower classes, and 
for their transgression of the law, forbidding the inter- 
ment of the martyrs. They were consequently arrested 
and led before the tribunal of Almachius. The pre- 
fect had no intention of condemning the two patricians 
whom he had summoned before him ; he merely 
wished to intimidate them, and obtain satisfaction for 
their having publicly violated his orders. 

"How is it possible!" he said to them, "that you, 
scions of a noble family, can have so far degenerated 
from your blood as to associate yourselves with the 
most superstitious of sects? I hear that you are 

* If the Christians expended little in incense which the Pa- 
gans used so freely in their sacrifices, they compensated for this, 
as Tertullian says, by the value they set on perfumes, using 
them profusely in the burial of martyrs. "Thura plane non 
emimus. Si Arabia? queruntur, scient Sabsei pluris et carioris 
suas merces Christianis sepeliendis pronigari, quam diis fumi- 
gandis." Apologet. Cap. xlii. 


squandering your fortune upon people of the basest 
extraction, and that you even go so far as to bury 
with honor the bodies of wretches who have been 
punished for their crimes. Must we conclude that 
they are your accomplices, and that this is the motive 
which induces you to give them honorable burial ?" 

It is easily seen by the prefect's language that he 
had acted without the emperor's orders in his violent 
proceedings against the Christians; he invoked no 
edict, preferring to impute to imaginary crimes the 
cruel death which so many of the faithful had suffered 
by his orders. The younger of the brothers was the 
first to answer. u Would to heaven !" cried Tiburtius, 
" that those whom you call our accomplices, would 
deign to admit us among the number of their servants. 
They have had the happiness of despising that which 
appears something, and is nevertheless nothing; in 
dying, they have obtained that which is not apparent, 
and yet is the only reality. May we imitate their 
holy lives, and walk one day in their footsteps I" 

Almachius, completely disconcerted by this coura- 
geous reply, endeavored to interrupt the young patri- 
cian by remarking the striking resemblance between 
the two brothers. " Tell me, Tiburtius," he asked, 
" which is the older of you two ?" Tiburtius replied, 
" my brother is not older than I, nor am I younger 
than he ; the One Holy, Eternal God has made us 
equals by His grace."* "Well," resumed Alma- 
chius," tell me what is that which appears something, 
and is nothing?" " Every thing in this world," Ti- 

* Nee hie major, nee ego minor, quia nnus est Dens sauetus 
aeternus, qui nos sua gratia coaequavit. Acta S. Ccccilice. 


burtius warmly replied, " every thing which leads 
souls to eternal death, the inevitable end of the happi- 
ness of this life." "Now tell me," continued Al- 
machius, "what is that which is not apparent, and 
yet is the only reality?" "It is," answered Tibur- 
tius, " a future life of happiness for the just and of 
eternal torments for the wicked. Both rapidly ap- 
proach, and yet, through a fatal self-delusion, we turn 
away the eyes of our heart that we may not see this 
inevitable future. Our bodily eyes are fixed upon 
present objects, and we seek to deceive our conscience 
by branding virtue with the epithets that belong only 
to evil, while we embellish evil with the qualities 
which pertain solely to virtue." 

Almachius interrupted the young man: "I am 
convinced," said he, "the sentiments which you ex- 
press do not proceed from the spirit which animates 
you." " You are right," replied Tiburtius, " I do not 
speak according to that spirit of the world which once 
animated me; but according to the spirit of Him 
whom I have received into the inmost recesses of my 
soul, — the Lord Jesus Christ."* " Do you know 
what you are saying?" angrily retorted the prefect, 
indignant at hearing the young man pronounce that 
sacred name which attested the profession of Chris- 
tianity in him who uttered it with so much love. 
" Do you know what you are asking ?" said Tiburtius. 
" Young man," replied Almachius, " your enthusiasm 
blinds you !" Tiburtius answered : " I have learned, 
I know, and I believe that all I have spoken, is truth.' ' 

* Verum dicis, quia non mente mea loquor, quam in saeculo 
habebam, sed ejus quern in visceribus meae mentis accepi, hoo 
est Dominum Jesum Christum. Acta S. Coccilice. 


11 But I do not understand it," retorted the prefect, 
and I cannot enter into this order of ideas." " That 
is because," answered the young man, borrowing the 
words of the Apostle, " the sensual man perceiveth 
not the things that are of the Spirit of God.* But 
the spiritual man judge th all things; and he himself 
is judged of no man."f Almachius smiled with vexa- 
tion, concealing his mortification at the insult which he 
had received ; % but not wishing that the young man 
should compromise himself further, he sent him away, 
and commanded Valerian to be brought forward. 



"Valerian," said the prefect, "your brother's 
head is evidently crazed ; you, I hope, will be able 
to give me a sensible reply." " There is one only 
physician," answered Valerian, "who has deigned 
to take charge of my brother's head and of mine. He 
is Christ, the Son of the living God."§ "Come," 
said Almachius. "speak with wisdom." "Your ear 
is false," replied Valerian, "you cannot understand 
our language." 

* 1 Cor. ii. 14. f 1 Cor. ii. 15. 

t Tunc ridens Prsefectus jussit amoveri Tibnrtium et applicari 
Valerianum. Acta S. Ccecilce. 

§ Cui Praefectus dixit : Valeriana, quoniarn non est sani capitis 
frater tuus, saltern credo quod tu mini poteris dare sapienter 
responsum. Valerianus dixit: Unas est medieus, qui fratris . 
mei caput et meum sua Sapientia fovet, qui est Christus Filiua 
Dei vivi. Acta S. Ccecilce. 


The prefect restrained himself, and refusing to 
accept the spontaneous confession of Christianity 
which the two brothers were eager to make before 
his tribunal, he endeavored to defend the Pagan sen- 
sualism to which the Caesars were indebted for the 
passive submission of their people. " It is you who 
are in error," he said, " and more than any one. You 
leave necessary and useful things to pursue folly. 
You disdain pleasures, reject happiness, despise all 
that constitutes the charm of existence ; in a word, 
you have no attraction but for that which is opposed 
to the comforts and luxuries of life." Valerian calmly 
replied, " I have seen, during the winter, men tra- 
versing the country with songs and merriment, aban- 
doning themselves to every kind of pleasure. At 
the same time, I have seen peasants in the field, in- 
dustriously ploughing the ground, planting the vine, 
inserting rose bushes upon the eglantine ; others graft- 
ing fruit trees, or thinning the underbush, which 
might injure their plantations ; all, in fine, energeti- 
cally devoting themselves to the culture of the earth. 
The men of pleasure, after looking at the peasants, 
commenced to deride their painful work." " Misera- 
ble creatures [" they exclaimed, " abandon this super- 
fluous labor ; come, rejoice with us, and share our 
amusements. Why fatigue yourselves with painful 
toil ? "Why spend your lives in such tiresome occu- 
pations?" They accompanied these words with shouts 
of laughter, clapping of hands, and cruel insults. 

" Spring followed the cold and rainy season, and 
behold ! the fields cultivated with so much care, were 
covered with luxuriant foliage ; the bushes perfumed 


the air with their exquisite roses, the grapes hung in 
festoons from the vines, and the trees groaned under the 
weight of their luscious fruits. The peasants, whose 
labor had appeared so senseless, were filled with joy, 
but the frivolous young men who had boasted of their 
wisdom, were reduced to a frightful famine, and 
regretting too late their effeminate sloth, said one to 
the other, L Look at those people whom we ridiculed. 
Their industry seemed to us a disgrace ; we shuddered 
at their mode of life, and thought it contemptible. 
Their very persons we considered vile, their society 
despicable. The result has proved that they were 
wise, and we, miserable, proud, and foolish. We 
would not labor, we would not even assist them in 
their work ; in the midst of our pleasures we scorned 
and ridiculed them ; and now, behold them sur- 
rounded with flowers, crowned with glory."* Thus 
the young patrician, whose grave and gentle charac- 
ter offered a striking contrast to the impetuous nature 
of his brother, imitated the language of Solomon, and 
condemned the vanities of the world, in the very 
bosom of the proudest and most voluptuous of cities. 
Almachius had listened to his discourse without in- 
terrupting him. Resuming the conversation in his 
turn, he said: " You have spoken eloquently, I ac- 
knowledge ; but I do not see that you have answered 
my question." " Permit me to finish," replied Vale- 
rian, "you have treated us as fools, because we be- 
stow our riches upon the poor, receive strangers with 
hospitality, succor widows and orphans, and give the 
bodies of the martyrs honorable burial. According 

* Acta S. CivcilUv, 


to your doctrine, our folly consists in refusing to in- 
dulge in voluptuous pleasures, and in disdaining to 
avail ourselves of the prerogatives of our birth. A 
time will come when we shall reap the fruit of our 
privations. We shall then rejoice, but those who 
now revel in enjoyment, will weep. The present 
time is given us to sow seed ; now, those who sow in 
joy in this life, will reap sighs and tears in the next ; 
whilst those, who in this life, sow fleeting tears, shall 
reap in the future, an abundant harvest of endless 

"And so," replied the prefect, " we and our invin- 
cible princes, will have tears and mourning for our 
portion, whilst you will possess eternal felicity?" 

"And who are you and your princes ?" cried Vale- 
rian; "you are but mortals, born upon the day ap- 
pointed for you, and destined to die when your hour 
shall come. Moreover, you will have to render to 
God, a rigorous account of the sovereign power which 
he has placed in your hands."* 

The interrogatory had already exceeded the pre- 
fect's designs. In endeavoring to justify his tyranny 
. against the faithful, he had involved himself in unex- 
pected embarrassments. Two patricians had appeared 
at his bar, and through his imprudence, had given 
vent to expressions insulting to the imperial dignity ; 
moreover the two brothers had solemnly professed 
Christianity in the very sanctuary of the law. Al- 
machius hoped to extricate himself from this difficult 

* Quid enim vos estis ? aut quid principes vestri ? liouiunci- 
ones estis, tempore vestro nati, tempore vestro expleto mori- 
turi ; tantam Deo reddituri rationem, quantum summse vobis 
tradidit potestatls. Acta S. Ccecilim. 



situation by making to them a proposition, which, 
should they accept it, would justify him in releasing 
them without delay. He therefore said : " Enough 
of these long, useless discourses. Offer libations t<y 
the gods, and you shall retire without undergoing any 

There was no question either of burning incense to 
the idols, or of taking part in a sacrifice ; a simple 
libation, scarcely perceptible to those present, would 
release the two brothers, and shield the magistrate's 
dignity. Valerian and Tiburtius replied in the same 
breath : " Every day we offer sacrifice to God, 
but not to idols."* " To what God?" enquired the 
prefect, " do you pay homage ?" " Is there then any 
other," answered the brothers, "that you should ask 
such a question in regard to God ? Is there more 
than one ?f" " But at least tell me the name of this 
one God, of whom you speak." " The name of God, 
neither you nor any mortal can discover, even had 
you wings and could mount to the highest clouds.":}: 
" Jupiter, then, is not the name of a god?" "You 
are mistaken, Almachius," said Valerian, " Jupiter is 
the name of a corrupter, a libertine. Your own 
authors represent him as a homicide, a man guilty 
of every vice, and you dare to call him a God ! I am 
astonished at your audacity, for the name of God can 
only belong to a being who has nothing in common 

* Nos non diis sed Deo quotidie sacrificium exhibemus. Acta 
S. C(Ecili(B, 

t Et quis est Dcus alius, ut de Deo nos interroges ? Est alius 
prseter unum ? Ibid. 

X Nomcn Dei non invenies etiamsi pennis volare possis. Ibid. 


with sin, and who possesses every virtue."* "And 
so," replied Almacliius, " the entire universe is in 
error ; you and your brother alone know the true God." 

Valerian's heart was agitated with noble and holy 
pride at these words of the prefect, and proclaiming 
before this haughty magistrate, the immense progress 
of Christianity which Tertullian had so lately an- 
nounced to the Eoman Senate, in his apology, he ex- 
claimed : " Do not deceive yourself, Almachius! The 
Christians, followers of this holy doctrine^are already 
innumerable in the empire. You Pagans will soon form 
the minority ; you are like the planks which float upon 
the sea after a shipwreck, and which have no other 
destination than to be burned."f 

Almachius, irritated at Valerian's generous bold- 
ness, ordered him to be scourged with rods ; he still 
hesitated to condemn him to death. The lictors 
immediately stripped the young man, who expressed 
his joy at suffering for the name of Christ, by these 
courageous words : " The happy moment has at last 
arrived for which I have so ardently longed ; this day 
is more delightful to me than all the festivals of the 
world." $ During the infliction of the cruel punish- 

* Erras Prsefecte ; Jovis nomen non est liominis corruptoris, 
atque stupratoris ? Homicidam ilium vestri auctores commemo- 
rant, et eriminosum ilium literae vestra? demonstrant ; hunc tu 
Deum dicis ? miror qua fronte locutus sis ; cum Deus dici non 
possit, nisi unus qui est ab omni peccato alienus, et omnibus 
virtutibus plenus. Acta S. Ccecilice. 

f Innumerabilis multitudo Christianitatis est, quae sancti- 
tatem suscepit ; sed magis vos pauci estis, qui sicut astulae de 
naufragio remansistis ad nihil aliud, nisi ut igni tradamini. 

$ Ecce bora, quam sitienter optavi ; ecce dies omni mihi festi- 
vitate jucundior. Ibid. 


merit, a herald made the following proclamation:* 
" Beware of blaspheming the gods and goddesses." 
Meanwhile, in clear and powerful tones, that were 
distinctly heard amid the noise occasioned by the 
strokes of the whip, Valerian addressed the multitude : 
" Citizens of Eome," he cried, " let not the view of 
these torments prevent you from confessing the truth ; 
be firm in your faith ; believe in the Lord, who alone 
is holy. Destroy the gods of wood and stone to which 
Almachius burns his incense; crush them into dust, 
and know that they who adore them will be eternally 

Almachius was agitated by this scene. What 
would be the issue of this trial which he had so im- 
prudently undertaken ? Instead of two young men 
whom he had hoped to intimidate, he found himself 
confronted by two courageous Christians, who were 
worthy of being compared to the most heroic of the 

* Deos, Deasque blasphemare noli. Acta S. Cvecelice. 

This proclamation, made by a public crier during the chas- 
tisement of a culprit, is prescribed in the Code, and in the 
Pandect, where it is based upon an edict of Gordian, and a sen- 
tence of Ulpian, both of the 3d century. Many examples are to 
be found among the ancient authors. Spartianus, in his Historian 
Augustve, quotes the proclamation made during the scourging of 
a plebian who had dared to embrace Severus, the proconsul of 
Africa. Legatum populi Romani homo plebius temere amplccti noli, 
Lampridus relates that under the reign of Alexander Severus, » 
herald proclaimed the following words during the chastisement 
of a court intriguer : Fumo punitur qui vendidit fumum. 

f Gives Romani, videte ne vos a veritate ista mea tormenta 
revocent, sed state viriliter credentes in Sancto Domino, et Deos 
quos colit Almachius lapideos et ligneos in calcem convertite, 
hoc scientes, scquia interna tribulation© erunt onines qui colunt 
eos. Acta S» Caicilioz. 



martyrs whom he had recently condemned to death. 
Should he release these men after a trivial punish- 
ment, when they had insulted the divinities of the 
empire, and defied the magistrate on his bench ? or 
should he declare them guilty of death ? A perfidi- 
ous counsel addressed to his cupidity, settled his doubts; 
his assessor, Tarquinius, whispered to him : " Con- 
demn them to death ; the occasion is a favorable one. 
If you delay, they will continue to distribute their 
riches to the poor, and when they shall finally suffer 
capital punishment, there will be nothing left for you 
to confiscate." 

Almachius understood this language. He was per- 
sonally interested in confiscated property, and there- 
fore resolved that his prey should not escape. The 
two brothers were again brought before him ; Vale- 
rian, his body mangled by the whips, and Tiburtius, 
piously jealous that his brother had been preferred to 
him in the honor of suffering for Christ. The sen- 
tence was immediately pronounced : the two brothers 
were to be conducted to the Pagus Triopius on the 
Appian Way, near the fourth mile-stone.* At the 

* According to the law of the XII. tables, executions took place 
outside the city, and not within its walls. Many examples of 
the application of this law can be found in ancient authors and 
in the acts of the martyrs. This custom was also observed 
among the Jews. St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews xii., 
11-14, remarks that our Saviour was crucified outside the city 
gates, and he explains the mystery of this circumstance of the 
Passion. We find no difficulty in asserting that the Pagus Trio- 
pius to which our martyrs were conducted was upon the Appian 
Way ; their being buried here give us reason to draw this con- 
clusion. The martyrs of Rome were generally buried in the 
Crypts of the Way upon which they died, the faithful who 


end of the route, there was a temple of Jupiter which 
served as an entrance to the Pagus* Here Valerian 
and Tiburtius were to be invited to burn incense be- 
fore the idols, and in case of their refusal, were to be 



As soon as the sentence was pronounced, Valerian 
and Tiburtius were hurried forth to the place of exe- 
cution, without being allowed a moment's time to bid 
farewell to her, who was the cherished bride of the 
one and the beloved sister of the other. Cecilia had not 
been present at the trial of the two confessors, but 
her ardent prayers had assisted them when before the 
judges, where they had proved themselves worthy 
of her and of their baptism. God, however, whose 
holy will it was that she should survive them, was 
preparing for her at this very moment a consoling 
interview with her friends. Maximus, the notary of 

buried them having thus less risk to run. We have already re- 
marked this with regard to Pope St. Callistus. We designate the 
Pagus Triopius as the theatre of the martyrdom of Valerian and 
Tiburtius, because this Pagus, although described on one of its 
inscriptions as situated at the third mile-stone, in reality did but 
commence there, and extended to the fourth mile-stone. 

* Tunc Assessor Praefecti Tarquinius clam dixit Praefecto : 
invenisti occasionem, tolle eos, nam si mo ram feceris, et de die 
in diem protraxeris, omnes facilitates suas pauperisms erogabunt, 
et, punitis eis, tu nihil invenies. Acta *S. Ccccilicc. 


Almachius, was chosen to accompany the martyrs to 
their place of execution. It was his duty to render 
an account to the prefect of the issue of this terrible 
drama. His orders were to release Valerian and Ti- 
burtius if they sacrificed to the gods ; or to record 
their execution if they persisted in the profession of 
Christianity. At the sight of these two patricians, 
walking so cheerfully to execution, and conversing 
together with tenderness and tranquil joy, Maximus 
could not restrain his tears, and turning towards them, 
he exclaimed : " O, noble and brilliant flowers of the 
Eoman youth ! 0, brothers, united by such tender 
love ! You persist in despising the gods, and at the 
very moment when you lose every thing, you hasten 
to death as to a banquet."* Tiburtius replied : " If we 
were not certain that the life which succeeds this will 
last forever, do you think we would be so joyful at this 
hour ?" " And what is that other life ?" asked Maxi- 
mus. " As the body is clothed with garments," replied 
Tiburtius, " so is the soul clothed with the body ; and 
as the body is stripped of its garments, so will the soul 
be divested of the body. The body, which is formed of 
the earth, will return to the earth ; it will be reduced 
to dust, to rise again like the phoenix, f As to the soul, if 

* O Juventutis fios purpureus, o gernianus fraternitatis 
afcctus, quern vos impia definitione volentes aniittere, ad inter- 
itum vestrum quasi ad epulas festinatis ? Acta S. Coecilice. 

f The ancients admitted the existence of this fabulous bird, 
and the first Christians considered it a symbol of the resurrec- 
tion of the body. Tiburtius speaks here in the language of 
St. Clement of Rome, (Epis. ad Corinthios, i. n°25.) Tertullian, 
(De resurrectione carnis, cap. xii.) St. Ambrose, (Hexsemeron, 
lib. v. cap. xxiii.) St. Cyril of Jerusalem, (Cateches xviii., cap. 
xxiii.) and St. Epiphanius, (Ancorat. cap. lxxxv.) 


it be pure, it will be transported to the delights of 
Paradise, there to await in the enjoyment of inebria- 
ting happiness, the resurrection of its body."* 

This unexpected conversation made a deep im- 
pression upon Maximus ; it was the first time he had 
heard any thing contrary to those principles of mate- 
rialism which were then so prevalent among the 
Pagans. He was pleased with the new light revealed 
to him. " If I were certain of this future life of which 
you speak," said he, " I feel that like you, I would 
despise the present life." Then Valerian filled with 
the holy ardor which the Holy Ghost had communi- 
cated to him, thus addressed Maximus. " Since you 
only require proof of the truth we have announced to 
you, receive the promise I now make you. At the 
moment when it will please our Lord to grant us the 
grace to shed our blood for the confession of His name, 
He will deign to open your eyes and permit you to 
see the glory into which we shall enter. The only 
condition to this favor is, that you repent of your past 
sins." " I accept," said Maximus, " and call down 
upon myself the thunderbolts of heaven, if from that 
moment I do not confess as the only true God, Him 
who reserves for us a life beyond the grave. Now 
therefore you have but to show me the vision which 
you have promised.f 

* Sicut vestitur vestimentis corpus, ita vestitur anima corpore, 
et sicut spoliatur vestimentis corpus, ita spoliatur anima cor- 
pore ; corpus quidem, quod terrenum semen per libidinem dedit, 
terreno ventri reddetur, ut in pulverem redactum, sicut Phoenix, 
futuri luminis aspectu resurgat ; anima vero ad Paradisi delioiaB, 
si sancta sit,perferetur, ut in deliciis alHuens tenipus sua? resur- 
rect] onis expectet. Acta S. Cwcilia'. 

t Tunc Maximus devotabat so dicens : Fulmineis ignibus con- 


By this reply, Maximus offered himself to be en- 
rolled among the militia of Jesus Christ ; but the 
two brothers were unwilling to die before having 
seen him regenerated in the baptismal waters. They 
therefore said to him: " Persuade our executioners to 
conduct us to your house; they can guard us there, 
without losing sight of us for a moment. We ask 
but a day's delay. We will then send for him who 
will purify you, and this very night you shall see 
what we have promised you." 

Maximus did not hesitate to comply. The present 
life, with its fears and hopes, was already nothing in 
his eyes. He led the martyrs, with their accom- 
panying escort, to his house, where Valerian and 
Tiburtius at once commenced to explain to him the 
Christian doctrine. The notary's family and the 
soldiers were present; grace touched their hearts; 
they were convinced by the powerful words of the 
two apostles, and declared themselves believers in 
Jesus Christ. Cecilia had been informed by Vale- 
rian of all that was passing. Her fervent prayers 
had doubtless contributed in obtaining so great an 
effusion of graces ; but it was necessary to consum- 
mate the divine work in these men so rapidly con- 
verted to the faith of Christ. Cecilia prepared every 
thing with prudent zeal ; at nightfall, she entered 
the house of Maximus, accompanied by several 
priests.* Human language cannot describe the 

Bumar, si ex hac hora non ilium solum Deum confitear, qui 
alteram vitam fecit isti vitae succedere ; hoc tantum vos, quod 
promisistis ostendite. Acta S. Ccecilice. 

* Tunc sancta Caecilia venit ad eos nocte cum sacerdotibus. 


sweetness of the interview which God in His good- 
ness had prepared for the two spouses. The pro- 
phetic roses of Valerian's crown were soon to expand 
in the sun of eternity ; while those which decked 
Cecilia's brow, were yet to exhale their perfume 
upon earth for a few days longer. It must have 
been sweet for these favored servants of God to con- 
verse together upon His holy designs in their regard, 
and to recall the many graces which He had bestowed 
upon them, from the mysterious interview in the 
nuptial chamber, to the present moment, when the 
palm of martyrdom w r as already within Valerian's 
reach. Tiburtius, the angels 7 favorite, and Cecilia's 
second conquest, shared, we may presume, their part- 
ing interview, and bade farewell to Cecilia with all 
the tenderness of his affectionate nature. But the 
two brothers and the virgin did not forget the abun- 
dant harvest which they had so happily met on the 
road to martyrdom ; it was time to gather it into the 
granaries of the heavenly Father. In presence of 
Cecilia, of her husband, and of her brother, amidst 
hymns of thanksgiving to God, Maximus, with his 
family and the soldiers, solemnly professed the 
Christian faith, and the priests poured upon their 
heads the regenerating waters of baptism. The 
house of Almachius 7 notary had become a temple, 
and those who dwelt in it during these few hours 
stolen from heaven, seemed animated by one heart 
and one soul. 

The rising sun ushered in the day of the martyr- 
dom of Valerian and Tiburtius — the XVIII of the 
calends of May. A solemn silence succeeded to the 


transports which faith had awakened in every heart. 
It was interrupted by Cecilia, who gave the signal 
for departure, quoting the words of St. Paul : " arise, 
soldiers of Christ! cast off the works of darkness, 
and put on the armor of light. You have fought a 
good fight, you have finished your course ; you have 
kept the faith. For the rest there is laid up for you 
a crown of justice, which the Lord, the just judge, 
will render to you, and to all who love His coming.*" 
Animated by these words, the martyr band resumed 
its march. The two confessors were conducted by 
the new Christian, Maximus, and escorted by the 
soldiers whose brows were still moistened with bap- 
tismal dew. The Acts do not mention whether 
Cecilia followed her husband and brother to the 
place of their triumph. She may have returned to 
Rome, to await the hour when she would be re- 
united to these cherished souls; or she may have 
preferred accompanying the confessors and remain- 
ing with them until their souls had taken flight to 
heaven. What had Cecilia to dread upon earth ? In 
preservation of her virginity, she had braved the 
anger of a Pagan husband, and in a few days she 
was to defy upon his tribunal, the formidable repre- 
sentative of Roman power. 

The martyrs, with their pious escort, wended their 
steps towards the Appian Way, through which they 

* Igitur cum aurora noctis finem daret, facto magno silentio, 
sancta Caecilia dixit eis : Eia milites Christi, abjicite opera tene- 
brarum, et mduimini arma lucis ; certamen bonum certastis, 
cursum consummastis, fidem servastis ; ite ad coronam vitae, 
quam dabit vobis Justus judex ; nou solum autem vobis, sed et 
omnibus qui diligunt adventum ejus. Acta S. Ccecilice. 


were obliged to pass in order to reach the Pagus 
Triopius. The remembrance of Peter, meeting in 
this same place our Saviour carrying His cross, re- 
doubled the brothers' courage. Both to the right 
and to the left, stretched the vast and silent galleries 
of the Christian Crypts, so that the martyrs, as they 
passed to execution, saluted the hallowed spot where 
they were so soon to rest. They probably arrested 
their steps for a moment, to gaze thoughtfully at the 
mysterious valley, which contained the tombs of the 
Apostles, whom they were so soon to join in the 
kingdom of everlasting joy. 

Directly opposite, was St. Urban's retreat, where 
they had so lately learned the secret of that glorious 
immortality, to gain which they were about to sacri- 
fice without regret, the joys of this present life. 
Towards the summit of the last hill, they passed 
near the tomb of Metella ;, the name of Cecilia, which 
the inscription bore, reminded Valerian of that 
spouse whom heaven had given him, and to whom 
he owed much more than earthly happiness. He 
was only preceding her by a few days, and soon 
their souls would be forever united in their true 
country. The fury of Almachius gave them every 
reason to suppose that the virgin's hour was fast 
approaching. The martyrs finally arrived at the 
Pagus, which, although called hospitable upon one 
of the inscriptions of Anna Eegilla, had nothing to 
offer the Christians but the sword or apostasy. The 
priests of Jupiter were waiting with the incense. 
They commanded Tiburtius and Valerian to pay 
homage to the idol. The brothers refused, and, 



throwing themselves -upon their knees, offered their 
necks to the executioners * The Christian soldiers 
could not draw their swords upon the martyrs. 
Others, however, offered to supply their place, and 
the two noble youths received at once, death and 
the crown of life. At this moment, heaven was 
opened to the eyes of Maximus, who gazed for an 
instant upon the happiness of the saints. The zeal- 
ous faithful secured the bodies of these two heroes 
of the Faith, and brought them to Cecilia. She 
herself buried the dear and holy remains in the 
cemetery of Pretextatus, near the second mile-stone. 
She anointed them with the richest perfumes ; raised 
over them the triumphal stone, engraven with the 
palm and crown, symbols of their glorious victory, 
and she accompanied this pious duty with tears of 
mingled hope and sorrow. Not far from their tombs, 
she was soon to rest her heaven-crowned brow, and 
twine her palm with that of her husband. 




The happy witnesses of the martyrdom of Vale- 
rian and Tiburtius returned to Rome, filled with ad- 

* Venientibus ergo Sanctis offeruntur thura, et recusant ; 
recusantes ponunt genua, feriuntur gladio, projiciunt corpus 
mortule, et gautlium suscipiunt sempiternum. Acta S. Ccecilice. 


miration at the courage of those who had initiated 
them into the secrets of eternal life, and ardently 
desiring to follow them as soon as possible. Maxi- 
mus, burning with divine love, unceasingly repeated 
that he had caught a glimpse of heaven. He affirmed 
on oath, that, at the moment when the martyrs were 
struck by the sword, he had seen the angels of God, 
resplendent as suns, and had beheld the souls of 
Valerian and Tiburtius leave their bodies, like brides 
adorned for a nuptial festival. The angels received 
them, and bore them to heaven upon their wings.* 
While saying these words, he shed tears of joy. 
Many Pagans, after listening to him, were converted, 
renouncing their idols, and believed in the one only 
God, Creator of all things. 

The news of his notary's conversion soon reached 
Almachius. He was doubly irritated, because this 
courageous example had been followed not only by 
the household of Maximus, but also by many other 
persons. The notary's fate was soon decided. He 
was not beheaded as the two patricians had been ; 
the Prefect caused him to be beaten to death with 
whips loaded with lead, which was the punishment 
of persons of inferior rank. The martyr courage- 
ously rendered up his soul to God, and Cecilia 
buried him with her own hands. She chose a sepul- 
chre near those of her husband and brother, and 
ordered that a phoenix should be sculptured on the 

* Maximus juratus asserebat, dicens : Vidi Angelos Dei ful- 
gentes sicut sol, in hora qua verberati sunt gladio, et egredi- 
entes aninias eorum de corporibus, quasi virgines do thalamo: 
quas in gremio suo suscipientes Angeli, reniigio alarum suarum 
ferebant ad coelos. Acta S> Ccecilice. 


tombstone,* in remembrance of the allusion made by 
Tiburtius to this marvellous bird, when explaining 
to Maximus the resurrection of the body. 

Meanwhile, Almachius had ordered the confisca- 
tion of all property belonging to Valerian and Ti- 
burtius. In so doing, he had acted conformably to 
the Eoman law. By his orders, search was made 
for their goods. But the charitable and prudent 

* Quam sancta Caecilia juxta Valerianum et Tibnrtium sepe- 
liit in novo sarcophago, et jussit nt in sarcophago ejus sculpere- 
tur phoenix ad indicium fidei ejus, qui resurrectionem se inven- 
turum, phoenicis exemplo, ex toto corde suscepit. Acta S. Cceci- 

This passage of the Acts is of great importance in confirming 
the use of the Phoenix, as a symbol, upon Christian tombs. 
Mamachi( Origines Christiance, torn. iii. p. 93.) had remarked 
it, but neither he nor any other Christian archaeologist, had 
been able to mention any other analogous fact. They limited 
themselves to the notice of the Phoenix found upon the mosaics 
or paintings, subsequent to the peace of the Church, where the 
fabulous bird is represented upon a palm tree, with a circle of 
rays around its head. Nevertheless, the Phoenix is engraved 
upon many of the sepulchral monuments of the Catacombs, 
where it has been frequently mistaken for a dove. There is, 
however, a distinction to be remarked. Both birds hold a 
branch in their beak, but the dove holds an olive branch, and 
the Phoenix a palm. The bird with the palm, when well-de- 
signed, is identical with the Phoenix upon the Egyptian medals ; 
moreover, an irresistable monument corroborates this state- 
ment ; upon the principal gate of St. Paul's Church, we find a 
bird, precisely like those we have remarked in the Catacombs, 
holding a palm branch in its beak. Above the head, the word 
Fenix is written. The Chevalier de Rossi, who has kindly fur- 
nished us with this information respecting the frequent use of 
this symbol, will give, in his valuable collection of the Christ- 
ian inscriptions of Rome, a marble of the Catacombs, never be- 
fore given to the public, upon which this bird is engraven, not 
only with the palm, but also with the nimbus of the 4th century. 


Cecilia had already distributed them to the poor, 
thus sending all her treasures before her, on the eve 
of her departure for her celestial country. 

Cecilia was so well known in Eome by her noble 
birth, her husband's death, and that of his brother, 
had been accompanied by so many remarkable cir- 
cumstances, and her profession of Catholicity was so 
public, that the Prefect of Eome felt it was absolutely 
necessary to require her to sacrifice to the gods of the 
Empire. Nevertheless, he at first showed some hesi- 
tation. He would have been glad to pause in his 
cruel course, and to avoid shedding the blood of this 
noble lady, admired by all who approached her for 
her beauty, modesty, and singular virtue. Hoping 
to avoid the publicity of a trial, which might end 
tragically, and which would certainly compromise 
still more the responsibility of a magistrate acting in 
the Emperor's absence and without his orders, he sent 
officers of justice to the virgin's dwelling with the pro- 
posal that she should privately sacrifice to the gods, 
trusting to obtain from her a compliance with his 
wishes, sufficient to shield his honor as a judge, with- 
out obliging him to summon her before his public 

The officers entered Cecilia's dwelling, and laid 
before her the prefect's proposition. The virgin easily 
perceived the emotion which they experienced in 
gazing upon her gentle and dignified countenance. 
Eespect, deference, and evident embarrassment in 
fulfilling their mission, were apparent in their words, 
and even in their attitude. 

Cecilia replied to their proposal with heavenly calm- 


ness: " Citizens and brothers, "said she, u hearme. You 
are the magistrate's officers, and in the depths of your 
hearts you despise his impious conduct. I am only 
too happy to suffer all kinds of torments for the con- 
fession of Jesus Christ, for I have not the slightest 
attachment to this life ; but I pity you, who, still in 
the flower of your youth, are condemned to obey the 
orders of an unjust judge."* The officers of Alma- 
chius could scarcely refrain from weeping at these 
words, so distressing did it seem to see this young, 
noble, and talented patrician lady actually longing 
for death ; they besought her not to sacrifice so many 

The virgin interrupted them: " To die for Christ 
is not to sacrifice one's youth, but to renew it ; it is 
giving vile dross for gold ; exchanging a mean and 
miserable dwelling for a magnificent palace ; relin- 
quishing a perishable thing, and receiving in return 
an immortal gift. If any one should offer you to-day 
a large amount of gold, upon the sole condition that 
you should give in return the same weight of a baser 
metal, would you not show the greatest eagerness in 
making so advantageous an exchange ? Would you 

* Audite me cives et fratres, vos ministri estis judicis vestri, 
et videtur vobis, quod ab ejus impietate alieni esse mereaniini; 
mihi quidem gloriosum est, et valde optabile omnia, pro Christi 
confessione perferre tormenta, quia cum hac vita numquam di- 
gnata sum habere amicitias ; sed de vestra satis doleo juventute, 
quam sine sollicitudine gerentes, faeitis quidquid vobis fuerit ab 
injusto judice imperatum. Acta S. Ccecilice. 

f Tunc illi dabant voces et fletus, quod tarn elegans puella, 
et tam sapiens et nobilis, libenter optaret occidi, et rogabant earn 
dicentes ne tale decus amitteret, ne tantam pulchritudinem ver- 
saret in mortem. Ibid, 


not urge your parents, associates, and friends to share 
your good fortune ? If any one should try to induce 
you, even with tears, not to accept such an offer, 
would you not consider him insane ? And yet, the 
result of all this eagerness would simply be the ex- 
changing of a vile metal for an equal weight of 
another, more precious it is true, but still a mere 
metal. Jesus Christ, our God, is not satisfied with 
giving weight for weight ; He returns a hundred fold 
for all offered him, and adds to it eternal life."* 

The officers, completely conquered by this dis- 
course, were unable to conceal their emotion. In 
the enthusiasm of her zeal, Cecilia mounted upon a 
marble stand, and in an inspired voice exclaimed: 
" Do you believe what I have told you?" Their re- 
ply was unanimous. " Yes, we believe that Christ, 
the Son of God, who possesses such a servant, is the 
true God."f " Go, then," Cecilia resumed, "and tell 
the miserable Almachius that I ask a delay ; that I 
beg he will defer my martyrdom for a short period. 
Then return here and you will find him who will 
render you participants of eternal life.";}: The officers, 
already Christians in their hearts, carried Cecilia's 
message to the prefect, who, by a dispensation of 
Divine Providence, deferred summoning the virgin 

* Acta S. Cceciliai. 

f Et his clictis ascendit super lapidem, qui erat juxta pedes 
ejus, et dixit omnibus : Creditis hsec quae dixi ? At ill i dixerunt: 
Credimus Christum Filium Dei verum Deum esse, qui talem pos- 
sidet famulam. Ibid. 

X lie ergo et dicite infelici Almachio, quod ego inducias petara, 
ut non urgeat passionem meam, et hie intra doiuuni ineam faciem 
"venire, qui vos omnes faciat vita) ceternaj participes. Ibid. 



before his tribunal. Cecilia immediately sent a mes- 
sage to Pope Urban, informing him of her approach- 
ing martyrdom, and of the new conversions which 
she had effected. Besides the officers of Almachius, 
a number of persons of every age, sex, and condition, 
principally from the trans-Tiberian region, touched 
by divine grace, ardently desired baptism. 

St. Urban was desirous of coming himself to reap 
so rich a harvest, and to bless the heroic virgin, who 
would in a few days extend to him from heaven, 
the palm of martyrdom. The presence of the holy 
pontiff was a great happiness for Cecilia. The bap- 
tism was celebrated with much splendor; more than 
four hundred persons received the grace of regenera- 
tion. Cecilia, desirous of preventing the confisca- 
tion of her goods, employed the last hours of her 
life in making over to one of the converts, named 
Gordian, all claims to her house, that it might hence- 
forth serve as an assembly for the Christians, and 
increase the number of the Komar] Churches.* 

Notwithstanding the danger, St. Urban remained 
under Cecilia's roof for several days, during which 
time, her house was a centre whence the rays of di- 
vine grace were diffused throughout Eome, for the 
advancement of the Church, and the destruction of 
the empire of Satan. At length Cecilia was sum- 
moned before Almachius. The virgin thus called 
upon to confess her faith, appeared before the judge 

* Inter quos unus clarissimus vir erat nomine Gordianus, hie 
sub defensione sui nominis domum sanctse Coeciliae suo nomine 
titulavit, nt in occulto ex ilia die, ex qua baptism a Christi ibi 
celebratum est, Ecclesia Dominica fieret. Acta S, Ccecilice. 


with holy assurance. Although in presence of the 
man whose hands had been imbrued in the blood of 
her husband and of her brother, in the midst of a 
prsetorium decorated with the impure and sacrilegi- 
ous images of the heathen divinities, the bride of 
Christ had never appeared more dignified and 
modest. Wholly absorbed in Him to whom she 
had given her heart, and who had at length called 
her to celebrate the heavenly nuptials, Cecilia looked 
with contempt upon the perishable things of earth. 

Her mission was accomplished. The martyrs 
whom she had formed, had preceded her to heaven; 
others would soon follow her. One earnest protes- 
tation against the brutal force which sought to deter 
men in their search after the eternal good ; one last 
courageous avowal of her faith, and she would re- 
ceive the palm of martyrdom. 



Almachius shuddered in presence of so noble and 
gentle a victim, and feigning not to recognize the 
daughter of the Cecilii, thus boldly addressed her : 
M Young woman, what is thy name?"* 
11 Men call me Cecilia," replied the virgin, but my 
most beautiful name is that of Christian."! 

* Quod tibi nomon est, puella? Acta S. CaecU'uv, 
f CcDcilia, sed apud homines ; quod autem illustrius est 
Christiana sum. Ibid. 


"What is thy rank?" "A citizen of Eome, of 
an illustrious and noble race."* " My question 
refers to thy religion ; we know the nobility of thy 

" Your interrogation was not very precise, since 
it requires two answers,"! replied Cecilia. 

" Whence comes this assurance in my presence?" 
"From a pure conscience and sincere faith."^: 
" Art thou ignorant of the extent of my power?" 
" And do you know who is my protector and my 
spouse ?"§ 

"Who is he?" 
" The Lord Jesus Christ.")) 

" Thou wert the bride of Valerian ; this I know." 
The virgin could not unfold the mysteries of 
heaven to profane ears. She took no notice, there- 
fore, of the prefect's remark, but reverting to the 
insolent manner in which he had boasted of his 
power : " Prefect," she said, " you spoke of power ; 
you have not the least idea of what it is : but if you 
question me upon the subject, I can demonstrate the 
truth to you."^[ 

" Well, speak," replied Almachius, " I would like 
to hear thy ideas. 

" You only listen to what pleases you," said Ce- 

* Civis Romana, illustris et nobilis. Acta S. Ccecilice. 

f Interrogatio tua stultum sunipsit exordium, quae duas res- 
ponsiones una putat inquisitione concludi. Ibid, 

I De conscientia bona et fide non ficta. Ibid. 

§ Et tu ignoras cujus sponsa sim ego ? Ibid. 

|| Domini Jesu Christi. Ibid. 

IT Tu, Praefecte, te ipsum ignoras, cujus sis potestatis ; nam 
si me interroges de tua potestate, verissimis tibi assertionibus 
manifesto. Ibid. 


cilia; " however, attend. The power of man is like 
a bladder inflated with wind. Let but a needle 
pierce the bladder, it will immediately collapse."* 

" Thou did'st commence with insult," replied the 
prefect, " and wilt thou continue in the same strain?" 

" Insults," replied the virgin, " consist in alleging 
things which have no foundation. Prove that what 
I have said is false, and I will acknowledge that 
I have insulted you; otherwise your reproach is 

Almachius changed the subject. " Knowest thou 
not that our masters, the invincible emperors,;}: have 
ordered that those who confess themselves Christians 
are to be punished ; whereas, those who consent to 
deny the name of Christ are to be acquitted?" 

" Your emperors are in error as well as your ex- 
cellency. The law which you quote simply proves 
that you are cruel and we innocent. If the name of 
Christian were a crime, it would be our part to deny 
it, and yours to force us by torments to confess it."§ 

u But," said the prefect, "the emperors have en- 

* Qualiter delectaris, taliter judicaris, tamen audi : potestas 
hominis sic est quasi uter vento repletus, quern si una acus pu- 
pugerit, omnis rigor cervicis ejus follescit, et quidquid rigiduin 
in se habere cernitur incurvatur. Acta S. Cczcilice. 

f Injuria non dicitur, nisi quod verbis fallentibus irrogatur ; 
aut injuriam doce, si false locuta sum, aut te ipsum corripe 
calumniam inferentem. Ibid. 

t We will explain elsewhere the reason why Almachius invoked 
the emperors rather than the Emperor Alexander Severus, who 
reigned alone. The reader has probably already divined it. 

§ Sic imperatores vestri errant, sicut et Nobilitas vestra ; sen- 
tentia enim, quam ab eis prolatam esse testaris, vos scevientes, 
et nos innocentes ostendit ; si enim malum esset hoc nomen, nos 
negaremus, vos vero ad conntendum suppliciis urgeretis. Ibid. 


acted this law through motives of clemency, that 
they might provide you with a means of saving your 

" Can there be any thing more unjust, than your 
conduct towards the Christians!" replied the virgin. 
" You use tortures to force criminals to acknowledge 
the time, the place, and the accomplices of their guilt; 
whereas, our crime is that we bear the name of Chris- 
tian, and if we do but deny that name, we obtain 
your favor. But we know the greatness of this name, 
and we cannot deny it. Better die and be happy, 
than live and be miserable. You wish us to pro- 
nounce a lie ; but in speaking the truth, we inflict 
a much greater and more cruel torture upon you 
than that which you make us suffer.* 

u Cease this audacitv " said Almachius, " and 
choose either to sacrifice to the gods, or to deny the 
name of Christian, and thou shalt go in peace." 

" What a humiliating position for a magistrate!" 
said Cecilia, with a smile of compassion. M He wishes 
me to deny the title which proves my innocence, and 
to pollute my lips with a lie. He consents to spare 
me, but his clemency is a refinement of cruelty. If 
you believe the accusation brought against me, why 
endeavor to force me to deny it ? If you desire to 
release me, why do you not inquire into the truth of 
the charge ?"f 

" Here are the accusers," replied Almachius, " they 

* Acta S. Ccecilice. 

t O judicem necessitate confusum, vult ut negem me inno- 
centem, ut ipse faciat nocentem ; parcit et saevit, dissimulat et 
advertit ; si vis damnare, cur hortaris negare ? Si vis absolvere, 
quare non vis inquirere ? Ibid. 


declare that thou art a Christian. Simply deny it, 
and the accusation is worthless; but if thou wilt 
persist in not denying it, thou wilt see thy folly 
when thy sentence is pronounced." 

" The accusation is my triumph," said Cecilia, 
" the punishment will be my victory. Do not tax me 
with folly, rather reproach yourself for believing 
you could induce me to deny Christ."* 

"Unhappy woman !" exclaimed Almachius, "know- 
est thou not that the power of life and death is placed 
in my hands by the authority of the invincible princes ? 
How darest thou address me with so much pride?" 

" Pride is one thing, firmness another," replied the 
virgin. "I spoke with firmness, not with pride, for 
it is a vice we detest. If you are not afraid of hear- 
ing the truth, I will prove to you that what you have 
said i& false ?"f 

" "Well," said the prefect, " what did I say that is 

"You told an untruth when you said that the 
princes had conferred upon you the power of life 
and death." 

" I told a lie in saying that ?" said Almachius with 

" Yes," replied Cecilia," "and if you permit me, I 
will prove to you that your lie is self-evident." 

* Horum mihi accusatio votiva est, et tua poena victoria ; noli 
me ut dementem arguere, sed te ipsum increpa, quia Christum 
me aestimas denegare. Acta S. Ccecilice. 

f Aliud est esse superbum, et aliud esse constantem ; ego con- 
stanter locuta sum et non superbe, quia superbiam et nos for- 
titer execramur ; tu autem si verum audire non times, iterum 
te docebo falsissime et nunc esse locutum. Ibid. 



" Explain thyself," said the prefect quite discon- 

11 Did you not say that your princes have conferred 
upon you the power of life and death ? You well 
know that you have only the power of death. You 
can take away life from those who enjoy it, but you 
cannot restore it to the dead. Say, then, that the 
emperors have made of you a minister of death, and 
nothing more; if you add anything else, you do not 
speak the truth."* 

The prefect concealing his "mortification at this 
affront, said with feigned moderation : " Cease this 
audacity, and sacrifice to the gods! "As he spoke 
he pointed to the statues that filled the Praetorium. 

11 You certainly have lost the use of your eyes," 
replied Cecilia, " I, and all who have good sight, can 
only see in the gods of which you speak, pieces of 
stone, brass, or lead."f 

" As a philosopher, I bore thy insults when they 
were directed only against me," said Almachius, 
"but I will not suffer an insult against the gods." 

"Since you first opened your mouth," replied the 
virgin, with severe irony, " you have not uttered a 
word that I have not proved to be either unjust or 

* Dixisti principes tuos, et vivificandi, et mortifieandi copiam 
tribuisse licentise, cum solem mortifieandi scias tibi traditam po- 
testatem ; vitam enim viventibus tollere potes, mortuis dare 
non potes : die ergo, quia Imperatores tui, mortis ministrum te 
esse voluerunt ; nam si quid plus dixeris, videberis frustra 
mentitus. Acta S. Ccecilice. 

f Nescio ubi tu oculos amiseris, nam quos tu Deos dicis, ego, 
et omnes qui oculos sanos habemus, saxa videmus esse, et 
aeramentum, et plumbum. Ibid, 


unreasonable. That nothing maybe wanting, behold 
you convicted of having lost your sight. You call 
gods, these objects which we all see are but useless 
stones. Touch them yourself, and you will feel 
what they are. Why thus expose yourself to the 
ridicule of the people ? Every one knows that God 
is in heaven. These stone statues would be of more 
service if they were cast into a furnace and converted 
into lime. They decay in their idleness, and are in- 
capable of either protecting themselves from the 
flames, or of delivering you from them. Christ alone 
can save from death, and deliver the guilty from eter- 
nal fire."* 

These were the last words which Cecilia pro- 
nounced before the judge. In her animated replies, 
she had avenged the dignity of man, so unworthily 
violated by idolatry and Pagan tyranny ; she had 
branded the gross materialism which had so long 
enslaved the world, redeemed by the blood of a God. 
Nothing remained but to suffer the glorious death 
for which she so ardently longed. 

But though Almachius could hardly avoid pro- 
nouncing sentence against one who had openly 

* Ex eo quod os aperuisti, non fuit sermo quern non probarem 
injustum, stultum, et vanum ; sed ne quid deeset, puto etiam 
exterioribus oculis te ccecum ostendis, ut quod omnes lapidem 
videmus esse, saxum inutile, hoc tu Deum esse testaris. Do, si 
jubes, consilium : mitte manum tuam, et tangendo disce saxum 
hoc esse, si videndo non nosti ; nefas est enim ut totus populus 
de te risum habeat, cum omnes sciant Deum in ccelis esse ; istas 
autem figuras saxeas per ignem melius in calcem posse converti, 
quae modo sui otio pereunt, et neque tibi pereunti, neque sibi, 
si in ignem mittantur, poterunt subvenire. Solus Christus 
eripit de morte, et do igno ipse valet liberare. Acta S. Ccecilice. 


insulted the officers of justice, the religion of the 
gods, and the majesty of the empire, he dreaded 
commanding the execution of a noble patrician lady, 
who added to innumerable charms, the gift of win- 
ning the hearts of all who approached her. More- 
over, he feared the Emperor's reproaches on his 
return, for so odious a spectacle in the very heart 
of Home could scarcely fail to excite murmurs 
among the patricians. Alexander would learn that 
the insults offered to the Empire and the gods, had 
sprung from the imprudence of the prefect, who, 
without any imperial mandate, had arrested the 
Christians. His violence against the faithful of the 
lower class had led not only distinguished noblemen 
to his bar, but even the daughter of the Cecilii. Al- 
machius would not have exposed himself to such 
serious embarrassments, had he been aware of the 
sacred bonds which unites all the disciples of Christ, 
"in whom," says St. Paul, "there is neither Scythian 
nor Eoman, nor free man, nor slave, but Christ is all 
and in all." 



Desirous that Cecilia should be executed without 
publicity or tumult, Almachius commanded that she 
should be taken home, and confined in the bath-room 
of her palace, called by theEomans, the Caldarium* 

* The Roman baths were divided into several halls. The 


This was to be kept intensely heated, until the 
suffocating atmosphere had deprived her of life. 

This cowardly expedient, however, failed. Cecilia 
joyfully entered the place of her martyrdom, and 
remained there the rest of the day, and the ensuing 
night, without the fiery atmosphere she breathed, pro- 
ducing even the slightest moisture upon her skin. A 
celestial dew, like that which refreshed the three child- 
ren in the Babylonian furnace, delightfully tempered 

first was the frigidarium, where cold baths were taken ; the 
second, tepidarium, where the water was tepid ; and the third, 
called caldarium, or ealidariwn, or sometimes sudatorium, was 
reserved for vapor baths. Reservoirs of boiling water sent 
whirlwinds of vapor through this hall ; and a furnace, called 
laconicum, the flames of which were circulated by means of 
pipes laid under the floor, and imbedded in the thick walls, 
increased the temperature to a burning heat. The vaulted 
ceiling was generally built of stucco, and was of hemispherical 
form. It was closed by a brass shield, which was worked by 
means of a chain, and served as a valve when the intensity of 
the heat became suffocating. A description of the caldarium 
may be found in Vitruvius, lib. x. cap x. 

The punishment to which Almachius condemned St. Cecilia, 
is not without a parallel in history. This method of inflicting 
death, without shedding blood, was employed by Constantine, 
in the execution of the Empress Fausta. Zosimus relates that 
by the Emperor's orders, the princess was enclosed in a bath, 
heated to suffocation, and that she was taken out dead. We 
find another example in Rome of a martyrdom inflicted under 
circumstances analagous to those that attended the death of St* 
Cecilia. It is that of the brothers Sts. John and Paul, unde 
Julian the Apostate. This prince, not wishing to publish edicts 
against the Christians, adopted a less dangerous and more effica- 
cious system of persecution. The two Christians, after pro- 
fessing their faith before the Roman Prefect, Terentianus, were 
reconducted to their own palace, where they were secretly- 
beheaded by the executioners who afterwards buried them. 



the air of the heated apartment, so that the remark 
made in later years of the intrepid Archdeacon Law- 
rence, could well have been applied to the virgin, 
viz. : that the fire of divine love which consumed 
him interiorly, destroyed the strength of the material 
fire which surrounded him exteriorly.* Vainly did 
the ministers of Almachius increase the fire by 
heaping wood upon the furnace; vainly did the 
heated apertures send forth volumes of boiling 
vapor into the apartment. The power of God pro- 
tected His servant, who calmly waited until it should 
please her Divine Spouse to admit her, by some 
other kind of death, into His eternal kingdom.f 

Almachius, on hearing of this prodigy, was much 
disconcerted. He had hoped to avoid shedding the 
blood of a Boman lady ; but he had gone too far to 
recede, and there was no alternative but to send a 
lictor to behead the saintly virgin. The officer pre- 
sented himself before her, armed with a sword. 
Cecilia hailed him with joy as the bearer of her nup- 
tial crown. She offered her neck to the executioner 
with an eagerness that might be expected from one 
who had already triumphed over all that could 
terrify or seduce human nature. The lictor vigor- 
ously brandished his sword, but his arm was so 

* Superari charitas Christi flamma non potuit, et segnior 
fuit ignis qui foris ussit quam qui intus accendit. Sermo in 
Natali S. Laurentii. 

f Cumque fuisset in calore balnei inclusa, et subter incendia 
nimia lignorum pabula ministrarent die integra et nocte tota, 
quasi in frigido loco illibata perstitit sanitate, ita ut nee una 
pars membrorum ejus saltern sudoris signo lassaretur. Acta S. 


unsteady, that although he struck her three times, 
he could not succeed in severing the head from the 
body. Terrified, he withdrew from the room, leaving 
the virgin stretched upon the ground, bathed in her 
blood. The law forbade the executioner, who, after 
three attempts, had not dispatched his victim, to ven- 
ture upon a fourth trial.* 

The doors of the bath-room had remained open 
after the lictor's departure ; and the crowd of Christ- 
ians who were awaiting the consummation of the 
sacrifice, respectfully entered the room. A sublime 
and lamentable spectacle met their eyes. Cecilia, in 
the agonies of death, still smiled upon the poor whom 
she loved, and the neophytes, who had been converted 
by her. With eagerness, they gathered up with 
linen cloths, the blood which was flowing from her vir- 
ginal wounds ; f all endeavored by every means to testify 
their veneration and love. From one moment to the 
next, they expected to see her sever the last link 
which held her captive, and yield up her beautiful 
soul to God. The crown is suspended above Cecilia's 
head ; she has only to stretch forth her hand to grasp 
it, and yet she lingers. The faithful were ignorant 
of the delay which she had asked and obtained from 

* Hoc cum audisset Almachius, misit qui earn in ipso balneo 
decollaret ; quam cum spiculator tertio ictu percussisset, caput 
ejus amputare non potuit : sic autem semineccm earn cruentus 
carnifex dereliquit ; nam apud veteres lex erat eis imposita, ut 
si in tribus percussionibus non decollaretur, amplius percutere 
non audebat. Acta S. Cadi ice. 

t Cujus sanguineni omnes bibulis lintoamiiiibus populi, qui 
per earn crediderant, extergebant. Ibid. 


During three entire days, they surrounded her 
bloody couch, wavering between hope and fear, and 
filled with respect for the will of God, so mysteriously 
manifested in His servant. Cecilia unceasingly ex- 
horted them to remain firm in the faith. From time 
to time, she made the poor approach her ; she lavished 
upon them the most touching marks of her affection, 
and desired that the remainder of her fortune should 
be divided among them.* The officers whose duty it 
was to confiscate her property, had not presented 
themselves. They knew that the executioner had 
missed his victim ; and, moreover, this palace, stained 
with blood, must have been as terrible to the Pagans 
as it was august in the eyes of the faithful, who 
venerated it as the glorious arena where Cecilia had 
won her crown. 

For one moment, the crowd subsided. The dying 
virgin was about to receive the visit of Saint Urban, 
who, as we have said, had been concealed in the pal- 
ace for several days. Until the present moment, pru- 
dence had prevented the venerable old man from 
approaching the martyr, who was awaiting his visit, 
before taking her flight to heaven. She wished to 
receive the blessing of the Father of the faithful, and 
to consign to his hands the only inheritance which 
she left. The Pontiff entered the bath-room, and was 
deeply moved at beholding his beloved daughter 
extended like a lamb offered in sacrifice, upon the 
altar, inundated with her blood. 

* Per triduum autem quod supervixit, non cessavit, quos nti- 
trierat et quos docuerat in fide Domini confortare, quibus et 
divisit univeroa qua? habuit. Acta S. Cctcilice. 


Cecilia gazed at him with ineffable sweetness and 
joy. "Father," she said, "I asked this delay of 
three days, from our Lord, that I might place in the 
hands of your Beatitude,* my last treasure, the poor 
whom I feed and who will miss me. I also bequeath 
to you this house in which I have lived, that you may 
consecrate it as a church, and that it may become the 
temple of the Lord forever.f 

After these words, the virgin thought only of pre- 
paring her soul to meet its Spouse. She thanked 
Christ, that He had deigned to associate her to the 
glory of the athletes, and had crowned her with a 
wreath composed of the roses of martyrdom, twined 
with the lilies of virginity. The heavens were 
already opened to her eyes, and a moment of faintness 
announced that her last hour was approaching. She 
was lying upon her right side, in an attitude of vir- 
ginal modesty. At the last moment, her arms fell 
by her side, and, turning her face against the ground 
so that none could witness the last secret communings 
of her departing soul with the divine object of all 
her love, she tranquilly expired.^ 

* Respecting the antiquity of this title given to the Roman 
Pontiff, many examples may be found in letters addressed to 
the Pope from the East and the West throughout the fourth 
century. Such uniformity at this time, proves that the cus- 
tom dated still farther back. Among other letters, may be 
seen those from the Orientals to Saint Julius, those of Saint 
Athanasius and the Bishops of Egypt to the same Pontiff, those 
of Saint Jerome and of Aurelius of Carthage to Saint Damasus, etc. 

f Sancto Urbano Papa? dixit : A dime triduanas mihi propose! 
inducias, ut et istos tuse Beatitudini traderem qmoa nutrivi, et 
banc domum meam in aeternuni Eoclesia nomini consocraros. 
Acta S. Ccecilice. 

t These details respecting Cecilia's dying position are not 


So great a martyr could be buried by none but the 
most august hands. Saint Urban, assisted by the 
deacons, presided at her funeral ceremonies. They 
laid her in a cypress coffin, in the same attitude in 
which she had expired, clothed in the rich robe of 
silk and gold, which she had worn at the time of her 
martyrdom ; and placed at her feet the linen cloths 
and veils with which the faithful had collected her 
precious blood. 

The following night, her holy body was carried to 
the Appian Way, to the cemetery of Saint Callistus, 
near the third mile-stone. Valerian, Tiburtius and 
Maximus, were buried at a short distance from the 
spot, but the entrance to their tombs was upon the 
left of the Appian Way. 

To honor the apostalate which Cecilia had exer- 
cised, Saint Urban desired that she should be buried 
in the enclosure prepared by Saint Callistus for the 
Pontiffs,* and in which he had interred his prede- 
cessor, Saint Zephyrinus. This well merited, but 
unusual distinction, joined to the desire of burying 
the virgin at the spot where the cemetery of Saint 
Callistus turned towards that of Pretextatus, in order 
to place her near her husband, accounts for the fact 
of all traces of her sepulchre having been lost, until 
it was discovered by means of a revelation. Thus 
the goodness of God restored to the Eoman Church 
the treasure which she believed had been stolen from 
her sacred Crypts by the hands of strangers. 

mentioned in the Acts : they are gathered from a more striking 
source, as we shall mention later. 

* Tunc sanctus Urbanus Papa corpus ejus auferens cum Dia- 
conibus, nocte sepelivit earn inter collegas suos Episcopos, et 
Martyres, ubi sanctiConfessores sunt collocati. Acta S. Cceciljce 




Scarcely a month elapsed before Urban was 
summoned to the tribunal of Almachius. The Pon- 
tiff had been discovered with two priests and three 
deacons in a grotto where he had been concealed ; 
for it had been impossible for him to remain long in 
Cecilia's palace. The prefect's officers, disconcerted 
at not finding in the palace the treasures they expected, 
and ignorant of Cecilia's donations to the poor, accused 
Urban of having received immense sums to secure them 
from confiscation. Cupidity rendered the search 
more active, and the Pontiff was finally discovered 
and arrested. 

11 Is this," said Almachius, " that Urban, that 
seducer, who has already been twice condemned, and 
whom the Christians have made their Pope?"* 

" Yes," replied the holy Pontiff, " It is I who have 
seduced men from the paths of iniquity, and have led 
them into the way of truth."f 

" Is that the way of truth," retorted Almachius, 
" in which the gods are not honored, nor the princes 
obeyed V>% 

* Nonne iste est Urbanus seductor, qui jam semel et iterum 
damnatus est, quern Christiani sibi Papam fecerunt ? Laderchi 
Acta S. Urbani. 

f Ego seduco homines, ut viam iniquitatis relinquant, et ad 
viam veritatis deveniant. Ibid. 

X via veritatis, qure nee Deos colit, nee Principes ob tem- 
po rat. Ibid, 


"No," said Urban, " I do not honor your gods 
any more than I fear your princes. Do what you 
have to do."* 

The venerable old man was cast into prison with 
his companions, and during the night, some Christ- 
ians, who had bribed with gold the jailor, Anolinus, 
came to visit him, and to give him proofs of their 
filial veneration. 

St. Urban, accompanied by his priests and deacons, 
appeared a second time before the prefect. Al- 
machius at first manifested a little moderation, the 
result of the uneasiness which he experienced at hav- 
ing so violently persecuted the Christians. l l Cease your 
obstinacy/' he said, "and sacrifice, to the gods. Al- 
ready five thousand men have perished in conse- 
quence of your seductions.f You are responsible 
for them." 

" They have not perished as you imagine, wretched 
man," replied Urban, " but have ascended gloriously 
to the kingom of heaven." 

"Yes," said the prefect, "it was this vain hope 

* Nee Deos tuos colo, nee principes tuos timeo ; fac quod fac- 
turus es. Acta S. UrbanL 

f The Acts of St. Urban, from which we gather these details, 
have not, doubtless, the same authority as those of St. Cecilia, 
but there is a tone of candor and truth throughout them which 
does not permit us to reject them with disdain, as many critics 
have done. The most serious objection to them occurs in this 
passage, as it is incredible that 5000 persons should have been 
martyred for the faith in Rome, in so short a time, and by the 
orders of a prefect. But this can be easily explained as being 
an error of the copyist. The manuscripts frequently passed 
through so many hands that mistakes might easily be made in 
figures, and it certainly seems unjust to reject the whole account 
merely for a fault which can be so easily explained. 


which so woefully seduced Cecilia, her husband, and 
her brother-in-law ; it was this hope which made them 
count as nothing the brilliant existence that awaited 
them on earth. At their death, they left you immense 
treasures — you must restore them."* 

By these words, the judge betrayed his cupidity. 
Urban, disdaining to answer the accusation, contented 
himself with saying: " Foolish man! rather render 
homage to your Creator; for those of whom you 
speak, gave up their lives, after distributing their 
fortunes to the poor."f 

" Cease this audacity if you wish to live ; other- 
wise you shall perish." 

"None can perish," said Urban, " but those who 
by their faith or works, displease the Creator." 

The prefect then addressed the two priests : "And 
are you of the same opinion ?" 

"All the counsels of our Father are wise," they 
replied ; " but wisdom will not enter into a perverted 

"I see," replied Almachius, you are worse than 
your master, decrepit and foolish as he is. Are you 
not ashamed, miserable wretches, to persevere in your 
insolence, after so many condemnations ?"§ 

* Hac vana spe inducta Csecilia cum sponso suo et cognato, 
omnem gloriam perdiderunt, et immensum tibi dimiserunt thes- 
aurum, quern te nunc exhibere oportet. Ada S. Urbani. 

f Stulte, agnosce creatorem pro quo illi sua omnia pauperi- 
sms erogantes, mori exoptaverunt. Ibid. 

\ Patris nostri monita per omnia sunt salubria, sed inmalevo- 
lam animam non intrat sapiential Ibid. 

§ Ut video deteriores elfecti estisquam delirus senexmagister 
vester ; sed miseri non erubescitis, qui toties damnati prcescrip- 
tionibus in impudentia perduratis. Ibid. 



lie then commanded them to be scourged with 
loaded whips. The order was executed in his pres- 
ence, and the two confessors, during the blows, re- 
peated : "Lord! we thank Thee." 

Almachius, enraged at their constancy, cried out 
in a voice trembling with passion : 

"They must be protected by some enchantment, or 
they could not still resist our orders." 

" It is you," said Urban, " who have become like 
your gods ; for you have ears and hear not ; eyes and 
see not."* 

" What ! do you dare to insult the gods !" cried the 
prefect; "your head shall be the forfeit of your au- 
dacity ; I swear it by the gods and goddesses." 

" If you wish to judge for yourself how much re- 
spect the gods merit, read their history. As to our 
God, He has created all things, and He strengthens 
us by these words : ' Fear not those who kill the 
body, for they cannot kill the soul.' " 

"I understand," said Almachius, "you are old, 
and for this reason you look upon death as a rest ; 
you are jealous of these young men ; you persuade 
them to sacrifice their lives, because your own is 
nearly at an end." 

One of the priests, indignant at this outrage, inter- 
rupted the prefect : " Your words are evident false- 
hoods," he said. " Our Father, from his youth, has 
always regarded Jesus Christ as his life, and death 
as a gain. More than once he has confessed Christ, 
and exposed his life for the flock confided to his care."f 

* Immo tu miser Diis tuis similis es effectus, aures liabens, 
et non audiens, oculos, et non videns. Acta S. Urbani. 

t Manifesto mentiris ; patri enim nostro, et in juventute 


Almachius ordered the old man and his companions 
to be re-conducted to prison. Here they were again 
visited by the Christians, and the jailor, Anolinus, 
was so impressed by the veneration and homage 
paid to the venerable old man, that he was converted 
to the faith, baptized by St. Urban, and soon after 
paid with his life the honor of being enrolled among 
the soldiers of Christ. 

A short time after, the martyrs were again sum- 
moned before Almachius, who ordered that they 
should be conducted to the Pagus Triopius, where he 
hoped they would consent to offer incense to the idol 
of Jupiter.* A critic of our day, has remarked with 
some reason, that the prefect's motive in choosing a 
Pagus of the Appian Way for the holy Pontiffs 
trial, was to give greater publicity to his apostasy, 
if he abjured Christianity so near the place where he 
had exercised his ministry ; or more solemnity to his 
execution, should he refuse to sacrifice to the gods, 
in a region so frequented by the Christians.! 

The Confessors rejected with horror the proposal 
that they should offer incense to the idols, and were, 
in consequence, so cruelly beaten, that Lucian, one 
of the deacons, expired under the blows of the execu- 
tioner. Finally, on the eighth of the calends of June, 
three days later, Almachius sent the confessors to a 
temple of Diana, % ordering the soldiers to behead 

Christus vivere fuit, et mori lucrum ; multoties quippo pro eo 
Confessor effectus, animam suam pro ejus ovibus posuit. Ibid, 

* Ducite eos ad templum juxta Pagum, et vol saorinoent Deo 
inagno Jovi, vel multiplicibus macerentur supplieiis. Acta S. 

\ Riccy. Dell' antico pago Leinonio. Rome, 1802, page 104. 

J The Acts of St. Urban do not specify the locality of this 


them if they refused to offer sacrifice. On the way, 
Urban thus exhorted his companions: "It is the 
Lord who calls us ; He who has said : c Come to me, 
all ye that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh 
you.' Until now, we have known the Lord only as 
in a glass, and as an enigma ; behold the moment 
when we go to see Him face to face. 7 '* 

When they entered the temple, the martyrs said to 
the executioners: "Finish your work. It is useless 
to propose to us an action which you know we scorn." 
They insisted, however ; and upon the martyrs' re- 
fusal, led them out of the temple and beheaded them. 
Fabian, Callistus, and Ammonius, three Christian 
tribunes, who had visited the Pontiff* in prison, caused 
the bodies of the martyrs to be carried to the ceme- 
tery of Pretextatus.f 

A more honorable sepulture was reserved for St. 
Urban, in return for that which in his paternal ten- 
derness he had prepared for Cecilia. Marmenia, the 
wife of the prefect's Vicar, had embraced Christi- 
anity immediately after the martyrdom of St. Urban. 
Having learned through the priest, Fortunatus, who 
had baptized her, the place where the bodies of St. 
Urban and his companions had been deposited, she 

temple ; it may have been in the interior of the city. Had it 
been on the Nomentana road, as we conjectured in our first 
edition, in consequence of some remarks, in the martyrology 
attributed to St. Jerome, it is probable the Acts would not have 
omitted to mention the circumstance. 

* Ecce nos Dominus vocat inquiens : Venite ad me omnes qui- 
laboratis et onerati estis, et ego reficiam vos. Hactenus eum vide 
mus quasi per speculum, et in aenigmate ; prcesto autem est, ut 
videamus eum facie ad faciem. Acta S. Urbani. 

t Acta S. Urbani. 


caused these sacred remains to be removed to her 
villa, which was situated upon the left side of the 
Appian Way, near a villa built by Vespasian, above 
the cemetery of Pretextatus, not far from the tombs 
of Valerian, Tiburtius and Maximus. She ordered a 
crypt to be excavated, in which she placed a sepul- 
chre, closed by a slab of precious marble, the interior 
of the tomb being also lined with marble. Here, 
Marmenia placed the bodies of St. Urban and his 
companions, after anointing them with perfumes. 
This crypt was afterwards enlarged, and converted 
into a vast cubiculum, solidly built, and of quad- 
rangular dimensions.* In one of the manuscripts of 
the Acts of St. Urban, this cubiculum is described 
as being situated in the upper story of the Catacombs.f 

St. Urban had occupied the Holy See eight years, 
eleven months and twelve days. He was succeeded 
by Pontianus, who governed in peace for several 
years. The return of Alexander Severus restored 
tranquillity to the Church of Rome ; at least the 
violence of Alrnachius does not seem to have been 

* Levaverunt hide cum magno honore glebas almas, et addux- 
erunt eas in domum Marmenia, quae erat extra palatium Vespa- 
siani Augusti, sita prope columnas, in qua sepulcrum B. Mar- 
menia miro jussit mode- poni : quod etiam marmoreis tabulis ex 
omni parte conglutinans contexit parietem, in quo recondiderunt 
cum aromatibus corpus Beatissimi Urbani et Mamiliani Fresby- 
teri, et desuper sacrum tumulum miro lapide operiri curave- 
runt : super quod ingens antrum fabricari fecerunt, quadratum 
et iirmissimae fabrics), etc. Acta S. Urbani, 

f Corpus autem B. Urbani Papa? et Martyris, ibidem in supe- 
riori camaculo condiderunt. Acta SS, Mali, ad dium xxv. page 
13. This circumstance is also found in an ancient manuscript 
of the Vatican Basilica from which Laderchi has extracted 
abridged Acts of St. Urban. 




prolonged beyond this epoch. The impressions of 
the Emperor when he was made acquainted with 
the prefect's conduct, are not known. The histo- 
rians of Alexander were little interested in the 
Christians, and, moreover, they generally passed 
over in silence facts which merely referred to the 
magistrates. It is to be supposed that this prince, 
who detested cruelty, blamed the excesses of the 
prefect, but it does not appear that he expressed in 
any other way his displeasure at the judicial murder 
of Cecilia and the two patricians. However this 
may have been, the system followed under the reign 
of Alexander with regard to the sovereign Pontiffs, 
was soon carried out in the case of Pontianus. This 
saintly Pope had to suffer persecution on account of 
his ministry; he was not condemned to death, like 
his predecessors, Sts. Urban and Callistus, but an 
order emanating from the imperial court, exiled him 
to the isle of Buccinia,* one of the wildest on the 
southern coast of Sardinia. 

Alexander did not long survive this act of injustice. 
How frequently we see in history, and even in our 
own day, the judgments of God visited upon princes 
who seemed personally favorable to His church, 
but who, forgetful of the future, and of justice, 
neglected to break the chains which others had forged 
for the Spouse of Christ. These princes thought 
that in lightening her fetters, they had fulfilled their 
duty. They did not foresee that, after their death, 
those chains would be riveted more firmly than 
ever upon that Church which they ought not only 
* Anastas. in Pontiano. 


to have loved and venerated as Christians, but to 
have protected and delivered as kings. 

Alexander had scarcely entered upon the thirteenth 
year of his reign, and the twenty sixth of his age, 
when he was assassinated at Mayence by his own 
soldiers, leaving the empire to Julius Verus Maxi- 
minus, one of the chiefs of his army. This man is 
suspected of having been the author of the sedition 
in which the unfortunate prince and his Mother, 
Julia Mammaea, lost their lives. 



Maximinus, upon his accession to the imperial 
throne, manifested a bitter hostility against the Chris- 
tians. The persecution, which had been suspended 
since the reign of Septimus Se verus, was renewed with 
the greatest violence. The new Emperor directed 
his decrees in a special manner against the heads of 
the Church j* and singled out the Pontiff of Rome as 
his first victim. An order was immediately dispatched 
to the island of Buccina, commanding the execution 
of the courageous pastor whose absence had been 
so severely felt by the Roman Church. Pontianus 
had occupied the Holy See, two months and seven 
days. His body was afterwards transported to Rome 
and buried in the cemetery of St. Callistus.f Anterus 

* Eusob. t Amastas. in Pontiano, 


succeeded Pontianus upon the apostolic chair; but 
lie had scarcely governed the Church one month when 
he was beheaded by order of Maximinus, and thus 
obtained the crown of martyrdom. A fact, connected 
with the short pontificate of Anterus, is of some im- 
portance in relation to the history of Cecilia. In the 
first ages, under the persecution of Domitian, the 
great Pontiff, St. Clement, wishing to preserve for 
future ages an account of the triumphs of the Martyrs, 
had appointed seven notaries whose duty it was to 
commit to writing all the circumstances, accompany- 
ing the generous sacrifice of these athletes of the faith. 
Each notary was appointed overseer of two of the 
fourteen regions of Kome.* The glorious memoirs 
they had the charge of collecting, must have considera- 
bly increased both in number and importance, during 
the persecutions of Trajan, Antoninus, Marcus Aure- 
lius, and Severus. We have seen what sublime 
pages were furnished to the collection, through the 
tyranny of Almachius, in the reign of Alexander 
Severus. The holy Pope A nterus made a compilation 
of the acts collected by the Notaries of the Church, 
in order to preserve them in the Archives of the 
Apostolic See. A fresco painted on the ceiling of a 
cubiculum in the cemetery of Sts. Nereus and Achilles, 
joining that of St. Callistus, seems to have been de- 
signed for the purpose of handing down to posterity 
the remembrance of this wise measure of Anterus. 
A venerable old man is represented seated upon an 
estrade, between two ministers, who are standing on 

* Hie fecit septem Regiones dividi Notariis fidelibus Ecclesioe, 
qui gesta martyrum sollicite et curiose unusquisque per Regio- 
nein suain diligenter perquirerent. Anastas in Clemente. 


either side. His hands are raised in the act of bless- 
ing three other persons, one of whom is kneeling, the 
other two in an attitude of profound veneration. 
They have just placed at his feet a round box filled 
with rolls of parchment. Boxes containing similar 
rolls of parchment, are very frequently seen in the 
w r all paintings of the Roman cemeteries. The learned 
archaeologist, F. Bianchini, whose opinion is of great 
weight, thinks that this fresco was designed as a 
memento of the holy PopeV* zeal in collecting the 
Acts of the Martyrs; however this may be, the 
fresco painting is of an elegant and correct style, and 
was most probably executed in the third century. 

The Christians of this period, who were so in- 
terested in preserving mementos of all that related 
to faith, must have been anxious to perpetuate the 
remembrance of the holy pontiffs zeal in gathering 
the Acts of the Martyrs ; the more so, as he received 
the palm of martyrdom in reward for the labor by 
which he laid the foundation of the Archives of the 
Church. Anterus was denounced before the prefect 
as one who honored the memory of the enemies of 
the empire and of the gods, and he expiated with 
his blood, the crime of having generously opposed 
the policy of the Caesars.f His body was buried in 
the Cemetery of Callistus. 

The pious Fabian, successor of Anterus, was not 
less zealous for the glory of God. He commanded 

* Anastasii Bibliothecarii de vitis Pontificum, in Antero notce 
historical. Tom. i. p. 184. 

f Hie gesta Martyrum diligenter a Notarns exquisivit, ot in 
Ecclesia recondidit. Propter quod a Maximo Praefecto martyrio 
coronatus est. Anastas, in Antero, 


that the seven notaries should each be assisted by a 
sub-deacon, who should aid him in compiling the 
Acts of the Martyrs.* The same desire of rendering 
homage to these noble victims, among whom he him- 
self was ranked after a pontificate of fourteen years, 
led him to undertake the great works in the ceme- 
teries.f He caused several additional galleries to 
be excavated, and many new frescos to be painted. 
It was but natural he should wish that one of these 
frescos should represent the zeal shown by his prede- 
cessor in transmitting to posterity the remembrance 
of the trials, endured by the innumerable heroes who 
slept in these gloomy vaults. 

The age in which Cecilia lived, was prolific in 
reliable historians, who faithfully gathered such 
precious reminiscences, and the Supreme Pontiff did 
not feel that he was lowering his dignity by care- 
fully superintending the compilation of the Acts, so 
that even the slightest circumstance might not be 
omitted. Moreover, it was a discipline established 
in the church from the time of the first persecutions, 
to write the circumstances attending the combats of 
the martyrs, and, notwithstanding the immense 
losses we have sustained by the ravages of time, and 
by other accidents, the authentic Acts which are 
still extant throughout all parts, both of the Eastern 
and Western Church, suffice to prove that the inten- 
tions of Popes Clement, Anterus, and Fabian, were 
understood and carried out throughout Christendom. 

* Fecit septem subdiaconos qui septem Notariis imminerent, 
ut gesta Martyrum in integro colligerent. Anastas. in Fabiano, 
f Multas fabricas per ccemeteria fieri prsecepit. Ibid, 


We will particularly quote the following words 
of the deacon, Pontius, in the life of his bishop, St. 
Cyprian, written at the death of this great martyr, 
twenty-eight years after the death of St. Cecilia : 
" Such was," says this author, " the veneration of our 
ancestors for the martyrs, whether baptized or cate- 
chumens, that they have committed to writing nearly 
all the details respecting the sufferings they endured, 
so that these accounts have been transmitted to us, 
who were not then even born."* 

If such was the case in a simple province of the 
Church, the measures organized by the sovereign 
Pontiff, in the centre of Christianity, must have 
resulted in the most authentic and imposing Acts 
concerning the martyrs. Add to this, that many 
Acts which have been transmitted to us, refer to 
persons of secondary importance, and yet the most 
precise account is given of every circumstance attend- 
ing the martyrdom ; the interrogations, the replies, 
the torments, the miracles, and the sepultures. The 
noble birth of Cecilia, Valerian and Tiburtius ; the 
impression which such a tragedy must naturally 
have created among the Gentiles, as well as among 
the Christians, rendered the compilation of their 
Acts an easy matter. Even in the absence of the 
notaries of the Church, the faithful would have re- 
tained for along time, the greater part of the details. 

* Cum majores nostri plebeiis et catecliumenis martyrium 
consecutis tantum honoris pro martyrii ipsius venoratione dede- 
rint, de passionibus eoruin multa, aut prope dixcrim pen6 
cuncta conscri-pserunt, ut ad nostram quoque notitiam qui non- 
duin nati fuimus pervenirent. Pontius diaconus, in vita Cacilii 


We cannot, therefore, doubt that the Acts of St. 
Cecilia were written at a time when there was every 
facility of authenticating the facts. Divine Provi- 
dence, who wished to give Eome a Christian Ceci- 
lia in place of that matron of ancient times, whose 
fame was not destined to survive the Capitol, took 
care that the memory of our Saint should be pre- 
served and become more glorious from age to age. 

After the persecution of Maximin, the Church was 
called to suffer those of Decius, Valerian, Gallienus, 
Aurelian, and finally the most terrible of all, that of 
Diocletian. The number of martyrs increased to a 
frightful extent, but none of these new and illustrious 
names eclipsed that of Cecilia. In the fourth cen- 
tury, when the Diptych of the Canon of the Mass was 
closed to be opened but once more, Cecilia's name was 
retained therein, and the greatest honor which the 
Church can bestow, was thus secured to her forever. 

From her throne in heaven, she hears her name 
daily pronounced in the silent prayers which accom- 
pany the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice ; and her 
blood, once shed for Christ, is presented before the 
throne of God with that of the Spotless Lamb, to whom 
she is forever united, amidst the roses and lilies of 

Thus after the persecutions, the Eoman Church 
awarded to Cecilia an honor granted to but few of 
those who had been her glory during those times of 
trial. Out of the thirty Popes, martyrs, six only were 
commemorated on the immortal Diptych ; the daughter 
of the Cecilii was preferred to so many heroes. The 
Virgin Agnes, her rival in the love of Christ, pre- 


cedes her upon this triumphal list ; the pious widow 
Anastasia follows her ; all three daughters of the 
Roman Church. In the sixth century, St. Gregory 
added the names of the two Virgin Martyrs of Catania 
and Syracuse, Agatha and Lucy ; but thrcnigh liturgi- 
cal courtesy, he gave the precedence to the two 
Eoman Virgins.* 

The tenth of the Calends of December (22 Nov.) 
was appointed for the feast of St. Cecilia in the earliest 
ages, as we find in the Martyrology attributed to St. 
Jerome.f The holy martyrs, Valerian, Tiburtius, 
and Maximus, continued to be venerated on the 
eighteenth of the Calends of May (14 April), and St. 
Urban on the eighth of the Calends of June (25 May), 
the respective anniversaries of their martyrdom . That 
of Cecilia took place between these two epochs. But 
the feasts of the Ascension and of Pentecost were 
celebrated at this season, and sometimes fell on the 
anniversary of the holy Virgin's death. It was there- 
fore resolved to honor her memory on another day, 
that nothing might interfere with the solemnity of her 

* Many liturgists maintain that St. Gregory at the same time 
inserted in the canon the names of all the female Saints fonnd 
therein. The only author who speaks of the addition made by 
St. Gregory to the Diptych contained in the prayer, Nobis quo- 
qne peccatoribus, is St. Adhelmar of Sherbum, whose words are 
very clear, and who speaks but of Saints Agatha and Lucy as 
having been added to the others. Vid. S. Adhelmi Episcopi 
Saxonum occidentalium de Virginitate, cap. xxiii. Bibblioth, vet. 
Patrum, tome xiii., page 44. The author, speaking of St. Cecilia 
and Agnes, gives no reason to suppose that their names had 
been recently added, which he distinctly states of the two Sicilian 

f Florentini, Martyrologium S. Hieronymi. X, KaL Decembris. 


festival. It is impossible to determine why the Church 
selected the 22d of November* Probably the re- 
building of Cecilia's house, under a form more ap- 
propriate for a church, or its dedication in the fourth 
or fifth century, may have been the occasion of trans- 
ferring the feast of its holy Patroness to a day so much 
later than that of her martyrdom. The importance 
and solemnity of St. Cecilia's feast at Eome in the 
fifth century, are attested by the sacramentary of St. 
Gelasius, which was drawn up at this period. The 
feast is preceded by a preparatory Vigil.f St. Cecilia 
shares with St. Lawrence this honor, which St. Se- 
bastian and St. Agnes, although so famous in the 
Archives of the mother Church, do not seem to 
have obtained. It is true that the feast of St. Ce- 
cilia no longer enjoys this distinction ; but this testi- 
mony of the veneration of earlier times towards the 
Saint is sufficient to show how vividly the memory 
of her virtues was retained among the Christians even 
at the end of the fifth century, when her acts were 
compiled for the last time. 

The Church which was erected beyond the Tiber 
under the name of St. Cecilia, likewise bore witness 
to the magnificent reminiscences we have retraced. 

* It is remarkable that the Roman Martyrology of the 22d of 
November, neither mentions the death (Natalis) nor the burial 
(Depositio) of St. Cecilia. We simply read Romae. sanctae Caeci- 
liae, Virginis et Martyris, quae sponsum suum Valerianum, etc. 
The 23d thus mentions the feast of St. Clement, Natalis sancti 
Clementis Papae. On the 14th of April, Saints Tiburtius, Valerian, 
and Maximus, are announced by the Natalis, as well as St. Urban 
on the 25th of May. 

t Muratori. Liturgia Ilomana vetus, tome i. Sacramentarium 
Gelasianum, page 672. 


It is well known that when the churches erected in 
honor of the Eoman Martyrs, in the capital of Chris- 
tendom, did not contain their relics, or were not built 
at the entrance of the cemeteries where the bodies of 
their patrons reposed, they served to mark the places 
sanctified by the martyr's life and sufferings. This 
custom was not observed merely in Eome, it was estab- 
lished as a point of discipline in the African church 
by the fourteenth canon of the fourth council of Carth- 
age, in 398,* which canon is even inserted in the 
digest of ecclesiastical laws.f Later, this discipline 
was modified ; but it was still kept up in Eome for 
many centuries. This accounts for the small number 
of churches dedicated to St. Peter, although he was 
patron of the city. Four churches only were dedicated 
to him, and these are all monuments of his life ; the 
Vatican, which preserves his body ; that of St. Peter 
ad Vincula, where his chains are kept ; the Mamertine 
Prison, or St. Peter in Carcere, which is built over 
the dungeon where he was confined with St. Paul ; 
and finally, St. Peter in Montorio, upon the ground 
where it is presumed he was crucified. The body of 
our glorious martyr reposed many centuries in the 
cemetery of Callistus, out of the city, upon the Appian 
Way. In order to explain the origin of the trans- 
Tiberian Church, which bore the name of St. Cecilia, 
we must naturally refer to the house which Cecilia 
confided at her death to the Pontiff Urban. The 
bathroom where she suffered martyrdom is still visi- 

* Et onmino nulla memoria Martyrum probabiliter acceptctur, 
nisi aut ibi corpus, aut aliquoe oertffl reliquiae shit, aut ubi origo 
alicujus hnbitationis, vol possessions, vol passionis, fidelissima 
origine traditur. Labbe. Concilia, tome ii, page 1218. 

\ De consecratione. Distinct, i, can. xxvi. IHacuit ut altar ia. 


ble, and the memory of St. Ceoilia so intimately asso- 
ciated with this Church could never be lost in Kome."* 

The first mention we find of the Church of St. 
Cecilia in the official documents which have reached 
us, dates back to the year 499. Among the signa- 
tures of a council held in Eome in that year, under 
Pope Symmachus, are those of Boniface and Marcian, 
who sign themselves priests of St. Cecilia's Church.f 

But even before this time, many epigraphical monu- 
ments prove the existence of this church, and the 
veneration paid in it to the Eoman Virgin. An 
inscription, unfortunately mutilated, which was still 
to be seen in the last century, in the pavement of 
the Church, contained a consular date, which could 
scarcely be later than the year 464. The following 
is the inscription, for the restoration of which we are 
indebted to the science and friendship of M. le Che- 
valier de Eossi : 


et mirae verecurWlA.'E ET VLTRA aetatis ANKOS 

filiae (isr. N.) c^&iCVLARlS sanctae martyris CAE 

ciliae q. vix. ann. XII. MENSE. I. DIEB. XIII. 

de ssecvlo reCESSiT x vim kal sept. 

tituhim CI IVSSERVNT.4 

* Among the Churches of Rome, erected like that of St. Ce- 
cilia, upon the ground formerly occupied by the dwellings of 
their patrons, we will cite those of St. Praxedes, of St. Boniface, 
now St. Alexis, upon the Aventine ; of Saints John and Paul ; 
of St. Eusebius ; of St. Prisca ; of St. Bibiana, etc. 

t Labbe. Concil. Tome iv, page 1316. 

X This inscription has been inaccurately given by Mallei, Mu- 
sceum Verononse, page 291, IN' 6. 


We learn by this epitaph that a private individual, 
exercising the functions of cubicularis, or guardian 
of St. Cecilia's Church, had buried his daughter in 
this place, under the date of a consul whose name 
terminates with these two syllables; EI VS. The 
writing of this inscription being evidently of the 
V. century, and the VT. presenting no consul whose 
name terminates with the given syllables, we must 
seek in the V. the person designated. Now, 
here we find several consulates which might answer 
our purpose. The most recent is that of Eusticus 
Olybrius in the year 461. In preferring this one to 
others of more ancient date, we confirm the opinion 
that from the year 464, under the pontificate of St. 
Hilarius, the Church of St. Cecilia was sufficiently 
important to require the services of cubiculares. 

In the last century, there still existed in the pave- 
ment, a number of inscriptions, either whole or in frag- 
ments, which would be very useful now in tracing 
the historyof this venerable Sanctuary. 

Later, we will mention under what circumstances 
these valuable records of antiquity were destroyed. 
But we must mention one slab found in the pave- 
ment of the portico, the inscriptions on which, relating 
to a young girl named Thecla, might, according to 
the opinion of our learned friend, be referred to the 
IV. century. 





As we have already stated, we cannot assign an 
earlier date than the V. century, to the definitive 
compilation of the Acts of our Saint. The defective 
Latin of this document, does not permit us to place 
it at an earlier date ; and, besides, the use immediately 
made of it, by all the Churches of the West, is a 
positive proof that it was not written at a later period. 

These Acts must be classed among those which 
were compiled from ancient memorials, after the close 
of the persecutions. The author wished to unite in 
a simple narrative, the different circumstances of St. 
Cecilia's life, which he had been enabled to gather, 
either from the Acts collected by the Notaries of the 
Church ; or from other records which must have been 
abundant in a city where the holy Martyr was so 
highly venerated; or, finally, from oral traditions 
and metaphorical monuments. ■ His story begins -at 
the preparation for the marriage of Cecilia and Ti- 
burtius, and ends with the Virgin's death and burial. 
It is very evident that the author endeavored to make 
his work uniform throughout, and that he blended 
in his recital all the documents which were at his 
disposal. His language is naive, and his style such 
as is remarked in the series of Acts of the Martyrs, 
which begins at the IV. century ; numerous examples 
of which are published in the collection of Dom Bain- 


art. In these compositions, the Latin language is so 
altered that it is easy to see it was on the eve of 
ceasing to be the vulgar tongue. Our Acts, however, 
are not written in the barbarous style, used in the 
Papal Chronicle, known under the name of the Cata- 
logue of Felix IV., and which stops at the year 534* 

Besides we must not suppose that during the two 
centuries preceding the reign of Constantine, the 
Latin language was written and spoken in Eome 
with the purity and accuracy found among the clas- 
sics of this period, the tradition of which St. Ambrose, 
St. Jerome, and St. Augustin, made every effort to 
preserve. The greater part of the Christian inscrip- 
tions in the Catacombs, even those on profane monu- 
ments, previous to the IV. century, prove that the 
language of the masters of the world was far from 
being universally spoken and written correctly, even 
in the capital of the empire. 

The neglect of the rules of grammar and of rheto- 
ric, which characterizes the decline of a nation, is 
very visible in the Acts of the martyrs compiled at 
this period ; in fact, the writers seem to have affected 
unusual carelessness of style. The transpositions of 
phrase disappear, the language becomes more simple ; 
the biblical narrations are imitated with minute exact- 
ness, and more or less success ; the expressions used 
in the Italic version of the Holy Scriptures are intro- 
duced with eagerness, and frequently impart anima- 
tion to the recital. Such is the literary character of 
the Acts of St. Cecilia. If the narrative be found 

* Sec the text of this Chronicle in the work entitled : Originea 
de l'Eglise Romaine, torn i, pages 212, 248. 


very interesting, the credit is not due to the style in 
which it is related ; although the tone of candor which 
reigns throughout, is a powerful proof of the sincerity 
of the author, and even in those passages which are 
evidently written for effect, we can easily trace the 
original Acts. These rhetorical attempts merely 
prove that the genius of the compiler was not 
equal to the conception of a drama, so sublime and 
so touching, as the one to which he has consecra- 
ted his feeble talent. We may assuredly affirm that 
the admirable discourse of St. Cecilia to Tiburtius 
was not composed by the narrator, who has given it 
to us in his rude and inelegant diction which almost 
conceals its original beauty. 

We shall have many occasions in the course of 
our story, to demonstrate the accuracy of our histo- 
rian, and to defend his narrative from the imputa- 
tions cast upon it by the Jansenists. Let it suffice 
to observe here, that the author wrote under the 
eyes of his fellow citizens ; that he was not relating 
the life of an obscure person, about whom he could 
have invented many circumstances without being 
liable to contradiction ; finally, that his recital was 
almost universally accepted throughout the Churches 
of the West. The presumption consequently would 
be in his favor, even had we not the most distinct 
and evident proofs of his veracity. The Acts of St. 
Cecilia, like those of many others, were composed to 
be read from the Ambon, in the church dedicated to 
the Saint, on the day of her feast. This public read- 
ing being intended to increase the solemnity, it was 
necessary to make a complete and uniform narration 


of every thing contained in the documents of the 
Eoman Church, relating to the martyr. Hence the 
monotonous style, and the oratorical velleities of 
the compiler, who precedes his narrative with a pre- 
lude of generalities, in the style of the exordiums 
found in many of the Acts collected by Dom Euinart. 
This custom of solemnly reading the Acts of the 
Martyrs, on their festivals, has been preserved until 
the present day in our Legends of the Breviary. In 
the fifth century it Avas in full force, and very dear 
to the faithful. St. Augustin, Bishop of Hippo, 
frequently alluded to it in his Sermons de Sanctis;* 
and we have still a Canon of one of the Councils of 
the African Church, expressly confirming this cus- 
tom. It was likewise in vigor in the Gallican 
Church at the same epoch, as we learn from a ser- 
mon of St. Cesarius of Aries, in which he complains 
of the abuse of the permission given to invalids, to 
sit during the reading of the Holy Passions of the 
Marty rs.^ Eome, so rich in memorials, and so zeal- 
ous in demonstrations of piety towards the martyrs, 
could not be outdone by the other Churches. Each 
of its Basilicas had, as it were, its own martyr, and 
honored him with special veneration ; the Eomans 
must have desired to have the Acts of each glorious 
patron, that they might be read on the solemnity of 
his feast. But Diocletian having particularly ordered 
the destruction of ecclesiastical books, many Acts 
compiled by the notaries, were destroyed. Later 
accounts of the deeds of certain martyrs were not 

* See, among others, the second of St. Stephen, the first in 
Natali S, S. Perpetuce et Felicitatis, etc. 

f Labb. Concil. tome ii. page 1072. 


written with sufficient discernment. Moreover, many 
Acts, at different epochs, had been compiled by 
heretics, with the intention of insinuating their errors 
by means of these documents. Towards the close 
of the fifth century, the Holy See found it necessary 
to take measures for guarding the faith of the Church 
from the danger to which it was exposed. As all 
the Acts of the Martyrs, whether genuine or apocry- 
phal, were supposed to be authorized by the Church, 
they were all read with equal avidity by the unsus- 
pecting faithful, and hence many inconveniencies 
might arise. The examination of all the Acts extant 
was a labor requiring time, hence no alternative was 
left but that of a temporary prohibition of all. A coun- 
cil held by Pope, St. Gelasius, about 495, drew up 
the famous canon which contains the catalogue of the 
books considered orthodox by the Eoman Church." 56, 
It is couched in the following terms : " We likewise 
receive the Acts of the holy Martyrs with the brilliant 
description of their torments and the marvellous tri- 
umph of their confessions. What Catholic could doubt 
their truth ? Who does not know that the martyrs in 
their combats suffered the most dreadful torments, 
and supported fearful trials, not by their own strength, 
but with the grace and assistance of God."f 

* We attribute this council to St. Gelasius, according to the 
most common belief, without prejudice to the opinion of those 
who would date it back to St. Damasus, In the latter case, 
the recommendation of the Acts would be still more striking, as 
it would date back to the days immediately following the age of 
persecutions, and consequently prove the existence of a certain 
number of Acts of the Martyrs, preserved by the faithful, even 
after the violent edicts of Diocletian. 

t Item recipiuntur gesta sanctorum Martyrum qui multipli- 


Thus the canon of St. Gelasius confirmed the ex- 
istence of the Acts of the Martyrs, and appealed to 
catholic opinion respecting the truth of their ac- 
counts ; it approved and recommended the use of 
them, and signalized them as being glorious proofs 
of the wonderful power of God. But as these acts 
were not of equal authority, and as it was impor- 
tant that they should not be indiscriminately used 
in the Eoman Liturgy, such use being the most 
solemn confirmation which they could receive from 
the Holy See, the Pontiff adds the following general 
order: " According to ancient custom and the dic- 
tates of prudence, it is not our practice to read the 
Acts of the Martyrs in the Holy Eoman Church. 
The reasons for this conduct are manifold. The 
authors of some of these Acts are completely un- 
known; others have been written by unbelievers, 
or by illiterate men, who have introduced super- 
fluous things without that perspicuity which the 
subject requires. As examples, we may cite the 
Acts of Quiricus, Julitte, George, whose Passions, it 
is said, have been compiled by heretics. Therefore 
the Holy Eoman Church has prohibited the use 
of them, lest the contrary practice should offer some 
slight ground for criticism."* 

cibus tormentorum cruciatibus, et mirabilibus confess ion urn 
triumphis irradiant. Quis ita esse catholieorum dubitet, et 
inajora eos in agonibus fuisse perpessos nee suis virions, sed 
gratia Dei et adjutorio nniversa tolerasse ? Decret. i. pars, 
distinct, xv, can. iii. Sancta Romana. 

* Sed ideo secundum antiquam consuetudinem singular! oau- 
tela in sancta Romana Ecclesia non leguntur, quia et eoruin qui 
conscripsere nomina penitus ignorantur, et ab infidelibus, aut 
idiotis superflua, aut minus apta, quam rei ordo i'uerit, script* 


This extreme reserve with which the Eoman 
Church prohibited the public reading of these Acts, 
applied even to those, which, as historical monu- 
ments, were considered the most certain ; it is, there- 
fore, no argument against the authenticity of any 
particular Acts. There is no question of literary 
criticism, but of ecclesiastical policy. 

But we have said that the Acts of St. Cecilia were 
compiled in the fifth century, for the purpose of 
being publicly read in the Church of the martyr, 
and that the custom was universal throughout Eome. 
In order to reconcile this apparent contradiction, it 
is only necessary to remember that in the language 
of the ecclesiastical Acts of Eome during the pontifi- 
cate of St. Gelasius, and long after, when referring to 
liturgical customs, the Holy Eoman Church signified 
the Patriarchal Church of Lateran, See of the su- 
preme Pontiff, or the Church of St. Peter on the 
Vatican. This fact is established by Dom Mabellon, 
who interpreted in this sense the Canon of St. Gela- 
sius,* and by the learned Moretti who developes 
this Thesis in speaking of the Acts of St. Callistus.f 
Since this celebrated decree recognizes the impor- 
tance of the Acts of the Martyrs, and does not in- 
validate their historical truth, except in the case of 

esse putantur, sicut cujusdam Quirici et Julittae, sicut Georgii, 
aliorumque hujusmodi passiones, quae ab hoereticis perhibentur 
conscriptse, Propter quod, ut dictum est, ne vel levis subsan- 
naudi oriretur occasio, iu sancta Romana Ecclesia non leguntur. 
Canon. Sancta Romana. 

* Disquisitio de Cursu Gallicano, page 386. In ordinem Roma- 
num Commentarius. page cxxvu. Musceum italicum. tome n. 

t De S. Callixto Papa et Martyre, ej usque Basilica S. Marice 
trans-Tiberim, page 206. 


those which it expressly condemns, as for instance, 
in the case of the Acts of Quiricus, Julitte, and 
George, it evidently was not intended to prohibit 
the reading of the Passions of Martyrs in the private 
churches of Borne. 

This conclusion is rendered still more clear by 
the direct testimony of a venerable memorial of 
the Eoman Liturgy, published by Blessed Joseph 
Maria Tommasi. It is an Ordo Bomanus of the Tenth 
Century, taken from the library of the Yallicella, and 
also found in that of the Abbey of St. Gall. * Under 
the rubric DeFes tis Sanctorum, qualiter apud Romanos 
celebrantur, the following lines are found in this offi- 
cial document. M Until the time of Adrian, the Pas- 
sions and Acts of the Saints were only read in the 
Churches dedicated to these saints. This Pope 
changed the rule, and directed that they should also 
be read in the Church of St. Peter.*" 

This important passage does not tell us, it is true, 
at what epoch the custom was introduced of reading 
the Passions of the saints at the divine office in their 
titulary Churches ; but the custom was quite an an- 
cient one during the pontificate of Adrian, who was 
Pope at the end of the VIII. century. If there be 
any difficulty in reconciling this custom with the 
primitive usages of the Eoman Church, which, 
during the pontificate of St. Gelasius, might perhaps 
have shrunk from introducing into the Liturgy, 

* Passiones sanctorum, vel Gesta ipsorum, usque Adriani tem- 
pora, tantummodo ibi legebantur, ubi Ecclesia ipsius Sancti vel 
Titulus erat. Ipse vero a tempoere suo rennuere jussit, et in Ec- 
clesia Sancti Petri legendas esse constituit. B. Jos. M.Thomasii 
opp. tome iv, page 325. 



lessons not taken from the Holy Scriptures, we may- 
observe, that without being inserted into the divine 
office, the Passions of the Saints might have been 
read to the faithful on the festivals of these Saints, 
in order to increase the solemnity of the day. We 
have examples of such reading being made out of 
the time of divine office. It will be sufficient to 
mention one fact that occurred in the VI. century. 
It is well known that the subdeacon Arator read his 
poem upon the Acts of the Apostles in the Church 
of St. Jeter in Chains, by order of Pope Yigilius. 
With still greater propriety, might the Passions of 
the Martyrs have been read. The use which the 
Eoman Church made of the Acts of St. Cecilia, in 
her Liturgy, from the V. century, proves that the 
text was familiar to the Church, as we will presently 
show, whether it was read to the people in the daily 
office, or made the subject of a solemn reading, out 
of the time of divine worship. 



It is therefore plain that the Canon of St. Gelasius 
offers no unfavorable allusion to the Acts of St. Ceci- 
lia ; it now remains for us to prove that far from con- 
sidering these Acts as of trifling or doubtful authority, 
the Eoman and Western Churches, from the V. Cen- 
tury, esteemed them so highly, that they borrowed from 


them the substance of the prayers and canticles ad- 
dressed to God on the solemnity of St. Cecilia's feast. 
"We will commence with the Eoman Church. Her 
most ancient Sacramentary, known under the name 
of Leonian, because the greater part of its formulas 
are attributed to Pope Saint Leo the Great, thus men- 
tions Cecilia, in one of its five Prefaces, all dedicated 
to our holy Martyr. " Cecilia, destined by the will 
of her parents to become the spouse of a mortal, 
scorned a union which was to last but a short time, 
and jealous of the crown of chastity, sought an im- 
mortal spouse ; preferring the honors of everlasting 
life to the joys of maternity. Her glory is enhanced 
by her having prevailed upon Valerian to whom she 
was united in marriage, to join her in the practice of 
perpetual chastity, and to share with her the crown 
of martyrdom."* Later in the V. century, the Eoman 
Church thus speaks : " The inconstancy of youth 
could not arrest Cecilia in the path of virtue; the 
charms of the senses could not make her look back ; 
nor could the fragility of her sex intimidate her. 
Although a young woman, exposed to all the tor- 
ments of the executioners, the chaste Virgin Martyr 
gained a glorious victory, and to crown her triumph, 
bore with her to the kingdom of heaven, the man 
who had been given her as a spouse."f In the numer- 

* Dum humanis devota nuptiis, thalamos temporales contem- 
neret, sponsum sibi, qui perpetuus esset, praesumpto pr»mio 
castitatis adhibuit, et aeternitatem vitce maluit, quam ut mundo 
procrearet originem. In cujus gloriam etiam illud accessit, ut 
Valerianum, cui fuerat matrimonii jure copulanda, in perpetuum 
sibi socians Martyr casta consortium, secum duceret ad coronam. 
Muratori. Liturgia Romana vetus, tome i. Sacrament. Leonianum, 
page 456. 

f Despecto mundi conjugio, ad consortia superna contondens, 


ous and elegant compositions stamped by the genius 
of Leo, allusions to the Acts are evident ; we will not 
stop to point them out. The Gelasian Sacramentary, 
which also belongs to the V. century, contains a pre- 
face of the same style and full of the same allusions,"* 
and in its collect commemorates the crowns brought by 
the angel to Valerian and Cecilia.f At the end of 
the VI. century, St. Gregory, in his Sacramentary, 
diminished the number of the prefaces of the saints 
which formed the riches of the Missals of St. Leo and 
St. Gelasius. Those of St. Cecilia were sacrificed with 
the others, but in return the most ancient manuscripts 
of St. Gregory's Eesponsorial prove, that if the Eoman 
Church in the VI. and VII. centuries, abated nothing 
of her severity in favor of St. Cecilia, respecting the 
conciseness of the prayers to be thenceforth used at 
the Holy sacrifice ; she superabundantly compensated 
for this severity in the chants which accompany the 
Canonical Hours.J All the anthems and responses of 

nee setate nutabili prsepedita est, nee revocata carnis illecebra, 
nee sexus fragilitate deterrita, sed inter puellares annos, inter 
saeculi blandimenta, inter snpplicia persequentum, multiplicem 
victoriam Virgo casta et Martyr explevit, et ad potiorem trium- 
phum secnm ad regna ccelestia, cni fuerat nupta, perduxit. Mura. 
tori. Liturgia Romana vetus, tome i. Sacrament. Leonianum, p. 456. 

* Gerbert. Liber Sacramentoruin. Liturgia Alemannica, tome ii. 
page 197. 

f Deus, cnibeata Caecilia ita castitatis devotione complaenit, ut 
conjugem suum Valerianum, affinemque ejus Tiburtium tibi fe. 
cerit consecrari, cum et Angelo deferente micantium odoriferas 
florum coronas, palmam martyrii percepemnt : tribue, qnaesu- 
mus, ut ea intercedente pro nobis, beneficia tui muneris perci- 
pere mereamur. Gerbert Ibid, page 196. 

X See the manuscript of St. Gregory's Responsorial, published 
by Dionysius of St. Martha, and by Blessed Joseph Marie 


the office of the twenty- second of November are taken 
literally from our Acts, and have remained the same 
after the lapse of twelve centuries, as they were at the 
time of St. Gregory. 

The Book of the Gospels carried by Cecilia upon 
her heart,* the ardent prayers she addressed to God 
at her approaching marriage with Valerian, f her 
fasts of two and three days,;]: the hair shirt she wore 
under her garments,§ the musicians' concert, during 
which she sang hymns to the Almighty, || the confi- 
dence she reposed in Valerian, ^[ the words of the 
latter to the poor Christians in the Appian AVay, 
his interview with Urban,** the Pontiff's prayer 
after hearing the miracles wrought by Cecilia, ff 
Valerian's return to his bride, and the apparition of 
the Angel, $$ Cecilia's conversation with Tiburtius, 
which resulted in his conversion to the faith, Ceci- 
lia's apostrophe to the martyr band at day-break in 

* Virgo gloriosa semper Evangelium Christigerebat inpectore. 

f Et non diebus neque noctibus vacabat a colloquiis divinis et 

t Biduanis ac triduanis jejuniis oralis, commendabat Domino 
quod timebat. 

§ Cilicio Coscilia membra domabat, Deum gemitibus exorabat. 

|| Cantantibus organis, Csecilia Domino decantabat dicens. Fiat 
cor meum irnmaculatum, ut non confundar 

IT Est secretum, Valeriane. quod tibi volo dicere : Angelum 
Dei habeo amatorem, qui nimio zelo custodit corpus meum. 

** Csecilia me misit ad vos, ut ostendatis mihi sanctum Ur- 
banum, quia ad ipsum habeo secreta quae perferam. 

ft Domine Jesu Christe, pastor bone, seminator casti consilii, 
suscipe seminum fructus, quos in Caecilia seminasti. CsEcilia 
famula tua, quasi apis tibi argumentosa deservit. 

Xt Valerianus in cubiculo Caeciliam cum Angelo orantem in- 


the house of Maximus* the protestation of Al- 
machius' officers, after the exhortation addressed to 
them by the virgin, f the victory she herself gained;]: 
over the Koman prefect's tyranny, § one of the replies 
of her interrogatory;]] finally, the request she made St. 
Urban when expiring ;T such is a summary of the 
Gregorian office of St. Cecilia, and, consequently, 
such are the facts considered authentic by the Church 
of Rome since the end of the sixth century. These 
different incidents represent in an abridged form, 
the narrative of the Acts ; the same words even are 
preserved, except where the necessity of adapting 
them to the harmony of the ecclesiastical chant, re- 
quired a slight alteration. We are, therefore, per- 
fectly safe in concluding that there is no history 
considered more venerable by the Church of Rome, 
than that of St. Cecilia, as it is related in these pages, 
and set forth in the Liturgy of St. Gregory. Let us 
now examine the other Western Liturgies. 

We shall begin with that of Milan, called Ambro- 
sian, because the greater part of it was compiled by 
St. Ambrose. The Mass of St. Cecilia, contained in 

* Beata Caecilia dixit Tiburtio : Hodie te fateor meum esse 
cognatum, quia amor Dei te fecit esse contemptorem idoloram. 
- f Dum aurora fiuem daret, Caecilia dixit : Eia niilites Christi, 
abjicite opera tenebrarum, et induimini arma lucis. 

X Credimus Christum Filium Dei verum Deum esse, qui sibi 
talem elegit famulam. 

§ beata Caecilia qua? duos fratres convertisti, Almachium 
judicem superasti, Urbanum episcopum in vultu angelico de- 

|| Nos scientes sanctum nomen ejus, omnino negare non pos- 

^ Triduanas a Domino poposci inducias, ut domum meam 
Ecclesiam consecrarem. 


it, is drawn up with great care, and, judging by its ! 
style, can scarcely be dated farther back than the 
fifth century. The following are the principal pas- 
sages of the Preface: " Christ lavished upon Cecilia 
the highest honors of heaven. To merit the palm 
of martyrdom, she withdrew from the world and 
its nuptial joys. To her is due the honor of the 
glorious confession of her husband, Valerian, and 
of his brother, Tiburtius. Thou, Lord, didst crown 
them with fragrant flowers by the hand of a celestial 
spirit. The virgin guided these young men to the 
kingdom of heaven, thus teaching the world the 
power of chastity. Through Cecilia's merits they 
became martyrs, and followed, in the company of the 
angels, the footsteps of the King of Glory ."* 

The Offertory is composed of St. Urbairs prayer, 
in which he thanked our Lord for having so signally 
blessed St. Cecilia's eloquence. 

In the chants of its canonical office, the Ambro- 
sian Eesponsorial, like that of St. Gregory, borrows 
from the Acts of St. Cecilia.f 

If we now examine the Gallican Church, w r e shall 
find that its ancient liturgy, which lasted until the 
time of Pepin and Charlemagne, bears an analogous 
testimony to the authenticity of our Acts. The most 

* Per Christum Sancta Csecilia, coelesti dono repleta, ut mar- 
tyrii palmam assunieret, ipsum niundum est cum tbalamis exse- 
crata. Testis est Valeriani, et Tiburtii provocata confessio : quos 
angelica maim odoriferis floribus coronasti. Viros Virgo duxit 
ad gloriam. Mundus agnovit quantum valeat devotio castita- 
tis ; qnso ita promcruit, ut Marty res efficerentur, et iter Regis 
gloriao cum Angelis graderentur. Missale Ambrosianum. In Natali 
S. Casciliai. Virg. et Mart. 

f Breviarium Ambrosianum. xxii Novcmbris. 


complete Gallican Missal now extant, although con- 
taining but twenty-six Masses, {Proper) of the Saints, 
has one in honor of St. Cecilia. This Mass, com- 
piled in a pompous style, is a summary of the 
Eoman Legends. Its Preface is in the style of the 
Leonian and Gelasian Sacramentaries, and retraces, 
in an abridged form, the character of the virgin, her 
different trials, her martyrdom, her crown, and her 
entrance into the celestial kingdom with Valerian.* 
This Missal, according to the opinion of B. Joseph 
Maria Tommasi, is the same which was compiled 
about the year 460, by Musaeus, a priest of Mar- 
seilles, the principal author of the Gallican Liturgy. 
Finally the Gothic Church of Spain, whose Liturgy 
was compiled by St. Leander, Archbishop of Seville, 
a friend and contemporary of St. Gregory, also offers 
testimony in favor of the Acts of St. Cecilia. The 
prayers in its Missal constantly allude to the inci- 
dents we have mentioned. The hair shirt with which 
the Virgin mortified her body;f the crowns of roses 
and lilies brought from Heaven by an angel ; % Va- 
lerian's prayer to the Blessed Spirit to obtain his 
brother's conversion,! are all mentioned ; and finally 

* Mabillon. Liturgia Gallicana, page 226, 217. 

f Illadenique procul dubio poterit apud Deum veniam nostris 
impetrare offensis, quae suam tegens cilicio carnem, multorura 
animas convertit ad fidem. Missale mixtum Sf?cundum Regulam 
B. Isidori, dictum Mozarabes. Infesto S. Ccecilice Virginis. 

t Splendificos aspectus angelicos destinasti ad terras, per quos 
illis (Martyribus) concretas liliorum ac rosarum floribus desti- 
nasti coronas. Ibid, 

§ Qui Tiburtium fratis prece perduxit ad fidem, ipse per vos 
accendat plurimos ad diligendam aeternse glori» mansionem. 


an eloquent comparison is made between the fire 
which burned beneath Cecilia's feet in the caldarium 
of her palace, and the celestial love which consumed 
her heart.* The circumstances of our Acts are given 
more fully in the Missal of the Gothic Church of 
Spain than in its Breviary, the prayers of which 
are extremely short ; however, the latter contains a 
hymn of fourteen verses, in which the life of St. 
Cecilia is sung with touching veneration.f St. Isi- 
dore, the brother of St. Leander, composed the greater 
number of the hymns of this Liturgy. It is possible 
that this learned doctor of the Church is not the 
author of the one just mentioned. However this 
may be, it cannot be dated later than the seventh 
century, at which period St. Isidore flourished, be- 
cause St. Julian of Toledo, the last poet who composed 
hymns for the Gothic Breviary, lived in 675. 

* Gloriosam Virginem Caeciliam die integro et nocte tota ther- 
mis inclusam, nee ullo modo loesam fuisse fatemur. Servari 
quippe meruit in balnei calore, quae gestabat Christum in pectore. 
Duae quippe ignium divisae faces ardebant ; una in Virginis corde, 
altera sub Virginis pede ; una combustioni parata, altera refri- 
gerio debita ; una minabatur supplicium, pollicebatur altera re- 
gnum ; una morituris corporibus necem, altera vivituro spiritui 
futuram praeparans libertatem. Missale mixtum secundum Regu- 
lam B. Isidori, dictum Mozarabes. Infesto S. Ccecilice Virginis. 
f We give a copy of this hymn, a true historical monument 
of the life of St. Cecilia. The imperfection of the verses does not 
invalidate the testimony thus rendered by the Church of Spain 
in the seventh century. 

Inclytae festum pudoris Germine haec Virgo clara, 
Virginis Caecilice Sanctitate clarior ; 

Gloriosa praecinamus Pectore Christum praestans, 

Voce prompti pectoris ; Huncque solum prodioans, 
Quo soluta lege mortis * Ore sponsum, mente scelus, 
Tollitur in aethera. Vicit hostem sanguine. 



By comparing the monuments most worthy of 
veneration in the Western Liturgy, we find that 

Pectoris sacri recessum 
Munit Evangelic) ; 
Squalido corpus beatum 
Proterit cilicio : 
Noctis horas et diei 
Mentis implens cantico. 

HaBc enim sortita sponsum 
Grerminis prsefulgidi ; 
Angelum Dei fatetnr 
Se habere vindicem : 
Hnnc verendo ut pudori 
Det honorem commonet. 

Sponsus hie furore cseco 
Comminatur virgini ; 
Sed beata Virgo factis 
Dicta prorsus comprobans ; 
Angelum, munusqueexecelo 
Mox adesse prsestitit. 

Adfuit promissus idem 
Vir coruscis vestibus ; 
Exhibens serti coronas, 
Floribus prsefulgidis : 
In rosis docens cruorem, 
Castitatem liliis. 

Munere hoc provocatus 
Sponsus ad Christi fidem : 
Illico fratris salutum 
Imprsecatus obtinet, 
Hincque ambo passionis 
Consecrantur sanguine. 

Hunc Inde virgo Christi 
Consequens Csecilia, 
Hanc triumphalis honoris 
Promeretur gloriam : 
Igneis imis retrusa, 
Fit caloris nescia. 

Plus calens sic igne Christi, 
Vicit ignem saeculi, 
Et vibrantis ensis ictum 
Ter valenter sustulit ; 
Postque terris membra ponit, 
Spiritu ccelos petit. 

Inde nobis sacra Virgo 
Mitte coeli munera ; 
Liliorum, vel rosarum 
Munus inde proroga : 
Unde hausisti superna 
Veritatis gaudia. 

Liliis corusca in nobis 
Castitas prsefulgeat : 
Punicis rosis voluntas 
Passionis ferveat ; 
Criminis mole subacta 
Innovemur gratia. 

Ecce adventum futuri 
PraBstolamur judicis ; 
Sustinemus, et beata 
Ilia lucis gaudia ; 
Non rei tunc puniamur, 
Non crememur ignibus. 

Martyrum, et sacrosanctis 
Aggregati coetibus, 
Evadamus, quod timemus 
Continentis gloriam, 
Regis almi ad coronam 
Evocati dexteram. 

Ut tuam Christe videntes 
Servuli prcesentiam : 
Grratulemur, gaudeamus, 
Personemus gloriam; 
Curiae coelestis arce 
Confovendi in saecula. Amen. 


throughout the two centuries which followed the com- 
pilation of St. Cecilia's Acts, the Eoman, the Ambro- 
sian, the Gallican, and the Spanish Gothic churches, 
all solemnly adopted the facts they contain. We 
must also acknowledge that even among the most 
authentic Acts of the Martyrs, scarcely any have 
been so solemnly approved. 



After having proved the authenticity of the ac- 
counts transmitted to us respecting the virtues and 
combats of St. Cecilia, we must now collect the 
testimonies of love and veneration which, through- 
out the course of ages, have been offered to her 
memory by the faithful in every part of Christendom. 
We have already mentioned Cecilia's dying wish that 
her palace should be converted into a church. St. 
Urban fulfilled this pious desire, and the Basilica 
of St. Cecilia became one fo the most venerated 
sanctuaries of Christian Rome. It is time to recom- 
mence our pilgrimage through the Appian Way, 
that we may seek some traces of our heroine, whose 
body reposed there for several centuries. Our first 
visit to this celebrated Way was in the time of Alex- 
ander Severus ; we shall glance at the Christian 
memorials with which it has been enriched since 
that period. We shall pass over the profane monu- 
ments doomed to be destroyed by the ravages of time, 


or the hands of barbarians, and devote all our atten- 
tion to the Martyrs' tombs. The Capena gate no 
longer exists, Aurelian having extended the limits 
of Eome a mile further upon the Appian Way. The 
subterraneous cemeteries between the old and the 
new gate have been abandoned for those of Callistus 
and Pretextatus, the galleries of which commenced 
before the second mile. The most illustrious Martyrs 
have been buried here. We will examine their tombs 
with the assistance of the very incomplete guide- 
books, the first of which dates from the seventh cen- 
tury, the Acts of the Martyrs, and other documents. 

After having traversed the memorable place where 
our Saviour met the Prince of the Apostles, still 
ascending the acclivity, we shall find to the right 
the cemetery of Callistus, the descents into which are 
marked by small churches with three or four arches. 
These Churches ordinarily bear the name of some Mar- 
tyr, and each one opens upon a staircase which gives 
entrance to that part of the Catacombs where its 
Patron is buried. These edifices, which are very 
similar to many of the Pagan tombs upon the Appian 
Way, were erected during intervals of peace, and 
the Eoman Pontiffs have piously watched over their 
preservation. They are adorned with votive inscrip- 
tions in honor of the Martyrs; other inscriptions 
were placed in the crypts near the tombs of the 
Saints. Pope St. Damasus composed many of them, 
expressing the combats of the Martyrs, and his own 
humble devotion to them. 

The first church we meet upon the cemetery of 

Callistus, is that of the holy Virgin Sotera,* who 

* See the guide-books Salisburgense, Einsidlense, Malmes- 


suffered in the persecution of Diocletian. This 
edifice forms the entrance to the Martyr's tomb, 
which St. Ambrose certifies belonged to her family.* 

As we proceed towards the right, the Church of 
St. Cornelius meets our eyes; a marble staircase 
which has been recently discovered, with the rem- 
nants of the Damasian inscription, conducts to the 
cubiculum which contains the remains of the glorious 
Pontiff. The great Bishop of Carthage, St. Cyprian, 
is also honored in this place, although his body never 
reposed there.f 

On the same side, farther on, is the Church called 
ad Sanctam Caeciliam, also named ad Sanctum Six- 
turn, because it gives entrance to the crypt, where 
the Virgin Cecilia and Pope Sixtus II. are buried. 
In this crypt, destined to receive the bodies of the 
Pontiffs, St. Urban buried St. Cecilia. It also con- 
tains the remains of St. Zephyrinus, who was buried 
by St. CallistusJ upon the upper story ; Pontianus, the 
successor of St. Urban, whose body was transported 
from the island where he had been exiled ; Anterus, 
celebrated for his zeal in preserving to posterity the 
memory of the Martyrs ; Fabian, whose Pontificate 
was decided by the flight of a dove ; Lucius^ who so 
promptly culled the palm of martyrdom and whom 
we shall see later associated in Cecilia's triumph ; 

buriense, and the Papyrus of Monza. We leave the honor of 
commenting upon these monuments to M. le Chevalier de Rossi/ 
who has our best wishes for the publication of his Codex topo- 
graphicus urbis Romce. 

* S. Ambros. de Virginibus, lib. iii. cap. vii. n° 38. 

t Itiner. Salisburg. Einsidlen. Malmesbur. 

\ Salisburgense. 


Stephen, who defended the tradition of baptism 
against the Africans, and was assassinated in his 
episcopal chair ; Sixtus II, whose martyrdom preceded 
by three days that of his Archdeacon, Lawrence, and 
who shares with Cecilia the honor of giving his name 
to this region of the Callistus Cemetery ; Dionysius, 
who received from another Dionysius, Patriarch of 
Alexandria, a confession of his faith ; Eutychian, of 
whom we know little but his martyrdom ; Eusebius, 
who notwithstanding his short Pontificate, left many 
proofs of sanctity ; and finally, Melchiades, who had 
the happiness of seeing peace dawn upon the Church.* 

Among this illustrious band, Cecilia sleeps her 
glorious sleep. Near her, repose Tharsicius, an 
acolyte of the Eoman Church, who had the honor 
of lying in the same tomb with Zephyrinus ;+ Calo- 
cerus and Parthenius, officers of the court of Decius4 
Finally, in a lower gallery, twenty-four other Martyrs 
whose names are not mentioned upon the monuments 
of the VII. century, from which we borrow this 
description, form as it were the Virgin's guard of 
honor.§ In later years, so great was the veneration 
for Cecilia's tomb that the region which bore her 
name, was enlarged, and the Martyrologies of Bede, 
Adon, and Usuard, mention nine hundred Martyrs 
buried ad Sanctam Caeciliam.|| 

As we have before remarked, this part of the 
cemetery of Callistus also bore the name of Sixtus ; 
but the Church, through which the crypts were 

* Itiner. Salisburg. Malmeshuriense. 

f Salisburgense. t Ibid. § Ibid. 

II See also the Roman Martyrology of 4th of March, Page 191. 


entered, was called after Cecilia.* The martyrs we 
have enumerated, were not all buried in the same 
cubiculum. Popes Fabian, Sixtus II, and Diony- 
sius, were the only ones interred near St. Cecilia. 
The subterranean corridors branched out in every 
direction, and, at certain distances, other sepulchral 
chambers were excavated for the Pontiffs and princi- 
pal Martyrs. 

Cecilia's tomb was towards the south, rather far 
from the Church above mentioned, and situated on 
a corridor which joined the galleries under the Church 
of St. Sebastian. It was a cell, shaped like a square 
oven, lined with four marble panels. This sepulchre, 
the form of which is unusual in the Catacombs, was 
rather high, being built near the arched roof of the 
corridor ; it was closed by a small marble tablet which 
concealed the cypress coffin containing the remains of 
St. Cecilia. The absence of the decorations so pro- 
fusely lavished upon other sepulchres of the Cata- 
combs, joined to the mysterious character of this one, 
easily account for all traces of it being lost when the 
faithful of Eome ceased to frequent the Catacombs. 
Saint Damasus, as we have previously stated, wrote 
inscriptions in verse for the principal sepulchres of 
the Martyrs. The greater number of those referring 
to the tombs we have enumerated, have been des- 
troyed ; those only remain which relate to the holy 
Popes Stephen and Eusebius, and to the acolyte 
Tharsicius. Fragments of the Damasian inscription, 
consecrated to Pope St. Cornelius, have been lately 
found. It is more than probable that St. Damasus 
* Malmesburiense. 


dedicated a special inscription to St. Cecilia, as that 
virgin occupied too distinguished a place in the 
Appian Way, not to have obtained such an honor ; 
we shall soon relate under what circumstances this 
precious marble must have disappeared, and how 
Divine Providence made use of the hands of barba- 
rians to preserve for Christian Borne one of her greatest 

The Pontiff, who had been so zealous in preserv- 
ing the Memoirs of the Martyrs, erecting in all 
parts of the Catacombs, magnificent epitaphs, many 
of which are still in existence, had a special devotion 
to the band of martyrs buried upon the Appian Way, 
near Sts. Sixtus and Cecilia. Although he reigned 
during the time of peace, he might have arrogated 
to himself a resting-place in the Crypts containing 
so many heroes, but his humility prevented his aspi- 
ring to such an honor. Not far from the church ad 
Sanctam Cseciliam, but more to the right, and nearer 
the Ardeatine Way, which is parallel to the Appian, 
he caused another Basilica to be built, giving access 
to the sacred cemetery whose repose he had not 
ventured to disturb ; it was called the Church of 
Damasus. It was there that he buried his mother 
and sister; and there, also, that, after eighteen years 
of a brilliant and laborious pontificate, his own re- 
mains were interred. 

The inscription which Damasus had prepared for 
his own tomb, was placed in the church. In it, the 
Pontiff extolled the martyrs grouped around St. Six- 
tus, and concluded with these words : " I, Dama- 
sus, must acknowledge that I had thought of choos- 


ing among them, a place for my own body; but I 
feared to insult the ashes of the Saints"* 

Pursuing our pious pilgrimage, after praying at 
Cecilia's tomb, let us continue to explore the sacred 
monuments presented to us on the right side of the 
Appian Way. We will pass by the Churches of St. 
Damasus, of Pope St. Mark, and of the two brothers 
Marcel and Marcellinus, because they belong to the 
Ardeatine Way, as well as the vast cemetery of Sts. 
Nereus and Achilles, and descending the hill, we 
reach the place properly called the Catacombs. In 
this place, is venerated the mysterious well, where, 
for forty years, the bodies of the holy Apostles were 
concealed ; we have already mentioned it. After 
the age of persecution, a splendid church called after 
the great Sebastian, was erected upon this spot, and 
is one of the seven churches in which Christian 
Eome glories, as Pagan Borne formerly boasted of 
her seven hills. Several galleries of the Callistus 
Cemetery extend round this church. The valiant 
soldier of Christ, St. Sebastian, reposes here; not 
far from him the military tribune Quirinus, who was 
buried here by his pious daughter, the virgin, St. 
Balbina;f and Eutychius who suffered a cruel mar- 
tyrdom, as we learn from the long inscription which 
is still preserved. Leaving the Church of St. Sebas- 
tian, we will retrace our steps towards Eome, ex- 
ploring as we go, the Christian monuments upon the 
left of the Appian Way. Down in the valley, is the 
* Hie fateor Damasus volui mea condere membra ; 

Sed cineres timui sanctos vexare piorum. 

S. Damasi opp., carme xxxiii (Mai. Seript. Vatt. nov. 

, Coll. t. v. p. 37). f Itinerar, Sali.sburg. Malmesbur. 



Pagan temple, memorable for having been the re- 
treat of St. Urban. In the same direction, we can 
see in the distance, the Church of St. Eugenia,* which 
gives entrance to the cemetery of Apronianus upon 
the Latin Way, which, like the Ardeatine, runs 
parallel to the Appian. This illustrious virgin, who 
suffered martyrdom during the persecution of Gali- 
enus, was buried here by her mother, Claudia. We 
next walk along the cemetery of Pretextatus, and 
meet the small church built upon the spot where 
Pope St. Sixtus was beheaded, with his deacons, 
Felicissimus and Agapitus.f St. Cyprian says in one 
of his letters, that their execution took place in this 
very cemetery. The ministers of Decius hoped that 
by choosing, for the holy Pontiff's place of martyr- 
dom, one of the cemeteries excavated by the faith- 
ful, they would more effectually terrify the Christians. 
The martyr's body was transported, as we have said, 
from the other side of the Way to the cemetery of 
Callistus, where the body of Cecilia reposed. The 
two deacons, who were martyred with the Pontiff 1 , 
were buried near the place where they shed their 
blood. A church forms the entrance to their tombs. 
Januarius, J Magnus, Vincent, and Stephen, who were 
also companions of Sixtus, are buried in the same 
place. On this account, the church is called, Ad 
Sanctum Januarium. The large crypt which contains 
St. Urban 's body, is near the church of which we 
speak. § We have seen how Marmenia, in her pious 

* Itinerar. Einsidlense. | Epist. lxxxii. 

X The Salzburg guide-books confound this Januarius with a 
son of St. Felicitas, who bore the same name. 
§ Itinerar. Salisburg. Malmesbur. 


zeal, prepared this sepulchre for the holy Pope, and 
this accounts for his not being buried with Cecilia 
and Zephyrinus. 

Two other churches open upon the cemetery of 
Pretextatus, forming a group with that of Januarius, 
on the left side of the Appian Way. The smaller 
one is called after the holy martyr St. Zeno ;* the 
other, which is larger, bears the name of Saints Ti- 
burtius, Valerian, and Maximus.f The Basilica of 
Cecilia and Sixtus, on the right of the Appian Way, 
is directly opposite to the Church of Valerian upon 
the left. The votive inscription to the three martyrs 
is exposed near their tombs. It is written in charac- 
ters of the fourth and fifth centuries, and runs thus: 



This marble which gives some idea of the inscrip- 
tions placed in the crypts to designate the names of 
the principal martyrs honored by the faithful, still 
exists, and in the ninth century was transported to 
the Church of St. Cecilia.^" After having venerated 

* Itinerar. Salisburg. Malmesbur. 

t Ibid. 

% Baleriano for Valeriano. B is substituted for V upon many 
of the Christian and Pagan inscriptions of the first ages. 

§ Natales for Natalis. This replacing E for I, is also very fre- 
quent in the ancient monuments. With respect to the word 
Natalis, birthday, being used for the day when the martyrs, dis- 
engaged from their bodies, were born to eternity, it is the usual 
liturgical style since the first ages of the Church. 

|| Kaledas for Kalendas. These omissions of letters often dis- 
figure the most beautiful inscriptions. 

IT In the first edition we accepted the opinion of all authors 
who had spoken of this inscription. With them we thought it 


the sepulchres of our heroes, we will continue our 
course upon the Appian. Passing again the little 
Church, commemorative of the meeting of our Saviour 
and St. Peter, we arrive at Aurelian's wall, and 
going through the gate which afterwards received 
the name of St. Sebastian, we re-enter the Holy 



The Librarians of the Apostolic See, compiled at 
an early date in Eome, a chronicle of the Eoman 

belonged to the third century. Since then we have examined 
the marble more attentively, and it seems impossible to date it 
so far back. The inscription is still quite beautiful, but the 
inferiority of the letters is such that it must have been engraven 
after the reign of Constantine, probably during the latter part 
of the fourth century, and perhaps in the beginning of the fifth. 
Our learned friend, M. le Chevalier de Rossi, is of the same 
opinion. Before proceeding further, we must speak of a monu- 
ment in the cubiculum of the Catacombs of St. Sebastian. It 
bears this inscription : 


Many have supposed it to be the sepulchral inscription of St. 
Maximus, but it is not. This marble is simply a detached frag- 
ment of the upper part of a Christian sarcophagus. We have 
examples of these large marble sarcophagi, ornamented with 
symbolical bas reliefs, with the portrait of the deceased in 
the centre, and an inscription above, in honor of the martyr 
under whose protection he wished to repose. The thickness 
and dimensions of the stone of which we speak, and the traces 
it still bears of having adhered to a solid mass of the same ma- 
terial, take away all doubt of its origin. 


Pontiffs, more extensive and full of incidents than 
that written in the fourth century, and ending with 
the pontificate of Liberius. This second chronicle 
has been preserved, and extends to Felix IV., who 
occupied the Holy See from 526 to 530. 

It served as a basis for the famous biography of 
the Popes, so long attributed to Anastasius, the li- 
brarian, who merely continued it.* If we examine 
this precious document, which dates back to the first 
half of the sixth century, we shall find therein the 
following passage relating to St. Urban. " He bap- 
tized a number of persons, among others Valerian, 
husband of Cecilia; and many of those whom he 
instructed, received the crown of martyrdom."f Thus 
the official tradition of the Koman Church, as well as 
the Liturgy, placed, in the pontificate of St. Urban, 
the events related in the Acts of St. Cecilia, and con- 
firmed these recitals as far as was compatible with 
the extreme brevity of a chronicle so concise as that 
of Felix IV. The Church of the holy martyr, al- 
though deprived of the relics of its glorious patroness, 
continued to be venerated by the faithful. 

It was greatly honored in 530, when its Titulary 
Cardinal, Boniface Sigisvult, or Sigisband, was ele- 
vated to the Apostolic See, as successor of Felix IV., 
under the name of Boniface 114 In later years, the 
Basilica of St. Cecilia frequently enjoyed this honor. 

The ftoman Pontiffs were in the habit of celebra- 
ting the Holy Sacrifice in this church, on the mar- 

* Origines de l'Eglise Romaine, vol. i, page 191-249. 

t Hie sua traditione multos convertit ad baptisma, etiam Va- 
lerianum sponsum S. Caecilise, et multi martyrio coronati sunt 
per ejus doetrinam. Chronique de Felix IV., in Urbano. 

X Ciaooonius. Vita) Ronianorum Pontificuni, Tome i. page 358. 


tyr's festival. In the year 540, this solemnity was 
interrupted by an attack upon the person of the 
Vicar of Jesus Christ. 

The Emperor Justinian, in one of the outbreaks 
of his theological mania, published his famous edict 
against the " three chapters." He formed the design 
of forcing Pope Yigilius to confirm, by apostoiic 
authority, the edict which was causing so much 
trouble in the Eastern Churches. His design was to 
seize the Pontiff, and carry him off to Constantino- 
ple. Anthemius, an officer of Theodora, wife of 
Justinian, was charged with the execution of this 
project. He was ordered by the Emperor, to seize 
the Pontiff wherever he could meet him, excepting 
at St. Peter's, which he consented to respect as the 
inviolable asylum of the head of Christianity. 

On the 22d of November, Feast of St. Cecilia, 
Vigilius, according to custom, went to celebrate the^ 
Holy Sacrifice in the church of the martyr. The 
concourse of people was great, as this day was also 
the anniversary of Vigilius 7 episcopal consecration, or 
of his exaltation to the chair of St. Peter. The 
Pope, following the example of his predecessors, was 
engaged in distributing largesses to the people. The 
emissary from Byzantium succeeded in eluding the 
vigilance of the faithful; and, by a bold stroke, the 
Pontiff was seized and carried to the banks of the 
Tiber, which flows near the church. He was placed 
on board a vessel, and in spite of the cries and moans 
of the people, taken away from Eome. His absence 
lasted during seven of the most stormy years of his 
troubled pontificate.* 

* Anastas. In Vigilio. Pagi. Breviarum Pontificum Romaiio- 
rum, Tome i. page 295. 


Pelagius succeeded liim in the Apostolic chair, 
but was soon followed by John III., who governed 
the Church, until 572. The Liber Pontificalis re- 
marks of this Pope, that : " He venerated the ceme- 
teries of the holy martyrs, and restored many defaced 
monuments to their original state."* This passage 
of the Papal chronicle leads us back to the Cata- 
combs, which had been cruelly ravaged thirty years 
before the pontificate of John III. The sleep of the 
martyrs had been disturbed by the barbarians; the 
noise of military arms had been heard even beneath 
the sacred vaults where the conquerors of Pagan 
Home reposed in peace. In 586, under the pontifi- 
cate of St. Silverius, Rome had been besieged during 
an entire year, by the Goths under Vitiges. Not 
satisfied with destroying-}- the magnificent aqueducts, 
which, flowing over the Appian, Latin, and Tibur- 
tine Ways, had, for centuries, supplied Rome with 
water, these barbarians had also descended into the 
cemeteries, and, with sacrilegious hands, had demol- 
ished the decorations with which the Pontiffs and 
faithful had embellished the sacred crypts. They 
had vented their blind and impious rage even upon 
the inscriptions placed near the martyrs' tombs. 

The pontificate of Vigilius was too stormy to per- 
mit him to repair such devastations. We have, 
nevertheless, a proof of the interest he took in this 
pious work, in the inscription which is still extant, 
relating to three holy martyrs whose Damasian epi- 
taph had been destroyed by the Goths. These mar- 

* Hie amavit et restauravit Ccemeteria sanctorum niartyruni. 
Anastas. in Joanne iii. 

f Proeop. do bello Gothico. Lib. ii. cap. iii. 


tyrs were Vitalis, Martial, and Alexander, and the 
following is the inscription found on the monument 
substituted by Vigilius, for that broken by the bar- 
barians: "When the Goths encamped beneath the 
walls of Eome, in their senseless triumph, ignorant 
of the overthrow which awaited them, they began by 
declaring war against the Saints. In their sacrilegi- 
ous insolence, they overthrew the tombs consecrated 
to these martyrs, from the earliest ages. Damasus, 
divinely inspired, had proclaimed them worthy of 
veneration, and had composed verses in their honor. 
But although the sacred marble which bore this 
inscription has been broken, it is not just that their 
memory should perish forever. Therefore, Pope 
Vigilius, whose heart was deeply afflicted at such an 
outrage, repaired the sepulchres, after the enemy had 
been driven from Kome."* 

We have every reason to suppose that the Ceme- 
teries of the Appian, suffered very much at this time 
from the insults of the barbarians, who had so brutally 
destroyed the aqueduct of this Way. After the de- 
feat of Vitiges, the Goths again besieged Eome under 
the command of Totila. They must have naturally 

* Dum peritura GetsB posuissent castra sub urbe, 

Moverunt Sanctis bella nefanda prius. 
Istaque sacrilege- verterunt corde sepulchra 

Martyribus quondam rite sacrata piis. 
Quos monstrante Deo, Damasus sibi Papa probatos 

Affixo monuit carmine jure coli. 
Sed periit titulus confracto marmore sanctus, 

Nee tamen bis iterum posse latere fuit. 
Diruta Vigilius nam mox bsec Papa gemiscens, 

Hostibus expulsis, omne novavit opus. 
Gruter (Inscript. antiq. tome iii, page mclxxi. 4) 


wished to search these immense subterranean galleries, 
either to seek treasures, or in the hope of finding some 
secret entrance into the city. Their Arian fury was at 
this time exercised against the Catholic sanctuaries, 
and the most precious monuments of antiquity were 
exposed to their violence. It is certain, that in the 
VIII. century, Cecilia's tomb had no longer any pre- 
cise inscription, since the Lombards vainly sought the 
Virgin's body that they might carry it away. We 
may, therefore, conclude, with sufficient probability, 
that this marble was destroyed by the Goths in the 
VI. century, and that it was not renewed because the 
faithful were so well acquainted with the locality of 
the martyr's tomb. The pious zeal of Pope Vigilius 
with regard to the three martyrs, of whom we have 
just spoken, refers principally to the rebuilding of 
their sepulchres, to which he added a new inscrip- 
tion. We have no proof that either he, or his suc- 
cessors, undertook the restoration of all those which 
had been defaced. The faithful of Eome, who at this 
time, frequently visited the cemeteries, had not for- 
gotten the tombs of the principal martyrs ; the work 
undertaken by John III. must therefore have been 
principally the consolidation of the galleries and halls, 
and the restoration of the sepulchres injured by the 

We learn from the Liber Pontificalis, that under 
this Pontiff, divine service was not only still per- 
formed in the sacred crypts, on the days commemora- 
ting the triumph of the Martyrs, but that the Holy 
Sacrifice was offered there regularly every week 
John III. ordained that the Lateran Church should 



furnish the bread, wine, and lights, required every 
Sunday for the holy functions.* 

This pious Pontiff displayed on another occasion 
his confidence in the protection of the holy martyrs. 

The Eomans, annoyed by the presence of Narses 
in Italy, where he represented the authority of the 
Emperor Justinian, formed a cabal to oblige this 
great general to abandon the government of the pen- 
insula. They even went so far as to write to the 
Emperor that they preferred the tyranny of the Lom- 
bards to that of Narses. The latter, wounded by the 
ingratitude of the Eomans, retired to Campania, and 
in his indignation invited the Lombards to take pos- 
session of a city which had so ill requited his services. 
In reality, this intrigue had been plotted by the 
schismatics of Italy, who never ceased protesting 
against the V. General Council whose authority Jus- 
tin, as a Catholic prince, sustained, John III. trembled 
for his country, and hastened to Narses. He suc- 
ceeded in inducing him to return to Eome ; but the 
Pontiff had become odious to the party whose designs 
he had frustrated. On his return, instead of going 
to the Lateran Palace, he concealed himself, as Urban 
had formerly done, under the shadows of the martyrs' 
tombs. He chose that part of the Cemetery of Pre- 
textatus, which, in honor of the husband and brother 
of Cecilia, was called the Cemetery of Saints Tibur- 
tius and Valerian.f Over the funereal galleries, where 

* Instituit ut oblationes et amulse, vel luminaria, per eadem 
Ccemeteria omni die Dominico de Lateranis minis trarentur. 
Anastas. in Joanne iii. 

f Tunc sanctissimus Joannes Papa retinuit se in Coemeterio 
sanctorum Tiburtii et Valeriani. Anastas. In Joanne iii. 


the Pontiff came to learn patience from the example 
of the holy martyrs, rose the Church of which we 
have spoken, surrounded by several buildings for the 
accommodation of the priests and different function- 
aries. John III. resided some time in this obscure 
retreat. He celebrated the divine Mysteries some- 
times in the Church, and sometimes in the subterra- 
nean chapels ; and the Popes' Chronicle adds that he 
even consecrated several Bishops while concealed in 
the cemetery.* 

At the same time, about the year 570, the holy 
Archbishop of Eavenna, Agnellus, finished the 
mosaics of the superb church, erected, under the 
title of St. Apollinaris, by the great king Theo- 
doric.f We may even attribute this splendid em- 
bellishment to that munificent prince who died about 
the year 526. However this may be, this vast group- 
ings of mosaics is of great interest in our history, 
because, of all the monuments which Christian art 
dedicated to the memory of St, Cecilia, it is the most 
ancient which has been preserved to our own days. 
It represents the following picture : 

"A band of twenty-five martyrs advance towards 
our Saviour, to present him the crown they hold 
in their hands, whilst twenty-two Saints direct their 
steps towards the Mother of Christ, who holds her 
divine Son upon her knees. The name of each vir- 
gin is written above her head : St. Cecilia is placed 
between Lucy and Eulalia. They are all standing 

* Habitavit ibi multo tempore, ut etiam episcopos ibidem con- 
secraret. Anastas. in Joanne iii. 

f " Vid Ciampini. Vetera Monimenta, tome ii, page 100." 
The Mosaic is engraven in full upon several plates. 


dressed in rich and elegant costumes, and holding 
crowns in their hands. According to the style of 
the Byzantine mosaics, a tree is placed between each 
figure, to indicate that those represented, inhabit the 
garden of heaven." The sixth century closed during 
the pontificate of St. Gregory the Great, who occu- 
pied the Holy See, until the fourth j^ear of the fol- 
lowing century. This illustrious Pontiff arranged 
the Liturgy in its present form, and gave to the 
office of St. Cecilia the prominent place it occupies. 
A fearful contagion having desolated Rome in 590, 
Gregory, in order to avert the anger of God, ordered 
seven processions, which were to commence from 
seven different churches, and all to repair to the 
Basilica of St. Mary Major, the last invariable refuge 
of the faithful in such calamities. The first proces- 
sion, which was that of the clerks, advanced from the 
Church of St. John Lateran ; the second, composed 
of laymen, from that of St. Marcellus ; the third, of 
monks, from the church of Sts. John and Paul ; the 
fourth, that of the religious, from the church of Sts. 
Cosmas and Damian ; the fifth, that of married women, 
from the church of St. Stephen; the sixth, that of 
widows, from the church of St. Vitaiis; and, finally, 
the seventh, composed of the poor, and of children, 
from the church of Cecilia.* 

* Litania Clericorum exeat ab Ecclesia beati Joannis Baptistse. 
Litania virorum, ab Ecclesia beati Martyris Marcelli. Litania 
monacliorum, ab Ecclesia martyrum Joannis et Pauli. Litania 
ancillarmn Dei, ab Ecclesia beatorum martyrum Cosmae et Dami- 
ani. Litania feminarum conjugatarnm, ab Ecclesia beati primi 
martyris Stephani. Litania viduarum, ab Ecclesia beati martyris 
Vitaiis. Litania pauperum et infantium, ab Ecclesia beata? mar- 
tyris Caecilise. Oratio ad pi eb em, de mortalitate. S. Gregorii opp., 
tome v, page 278. Edit GaUiccioli. 


The Pontiff thus placed under the protection of the 
martyr, the feeble and the suffering, to whom, during 
lier life, she was so devoted. The Lord heard the 
supplications of his people, and through the inter- 
cession of the Queen of Heaven, the exterminating 
Angel was commanded to sheathe his sword. 

The Basilica of St. Cecilia seems to have been re- 
built and rededicated under Gregory's Pontificate. 
At least, we may draw this conclusion from the 
famous charter of St. Paschal, of which we shall soon 

It is not surprising that towards the close of the 
sixth century, this edifice needed repairing, and the 
fact recorded in the charter of St. Paschal, connects the 
name of St. Gregory in a particular manner with, the 
Church of the great Martyr. Moreover, this fact is 
confirmed by the very expressions of St. Paschal, which 
are to be read in every copy of his charter, and in 
which he declares that he has nominated St. Gregory 
as one of the patrons of the monastery which he erected 
near the Church of St. Cecilia. 

A last fact relative to the homage paid by St. 
Gregory the Great, to St. Cecilia, may be found in 
the present he sent to Theodolinda, the Queen of the 
Lombards, of several vials containing oil from the 
lamps which burned in the cemetery of the martyrs. 

It is well known how great was the paternal 
affection of the Pontiff towards this princess, w^ho re- 
mained true to her faith in the midst of an Arian 

* " Titulus quern pise devotionis affectu sanctus Papa primus 
Gregorius doctor eximius dicaverat." Sec the text of this char* 
ter, with this important version, in Bosio, Acta S. Ccicili(P y p. 
44, and in Laderchi, p. 204. 



court, and who had the happiness of converting her 
nation to Catholicity. His intention in sending her 
these vials of holy oil, was, that she might unite with 
the faithful of Eome in venerating the martyrs. To 
facilitate this, he sent her at the same time a topo- 
graphical index of the different Saints from whose 
lamps the oil was taken, that so she might picture 
more vividly to herself the sacred ways of Christian 
Eome. This valuable list, written upon parchment, 
is still preserved in the Church of St. John the Bap- 
tist at Monza. The names of the Saints are frequently 
grouped together according to the locality of their 
tombs in the crypts. This order was also indicated 
upon each vial by means of small labels, most of which 
are still preserved, either fastened to the bottles or 
detached from them. In most cases the oil taken from 
lamps belonging to several tombs,. was mingled in one 
vial. That relating to our illustrious Martyr bears 
the following inscription : 



This inscription at once carries us back to the Ap- 
pian Way. We find in it the names of four celebrated 
Eoman Saints, St. Sophia with her three daughters, 
Faith, Hope, and Charity, who like their mother 
obtained the crown of martyrdom.* The place of 
their sepulture was not positively known, but this 
monument proves to us that it was upon the right 
side of the Appian Way. On the parchment, these 
Saints are placed between Saints Sotera and Cecilia, 
who were incontestibly a short distance from each 
* Acta SS. Augusti. Tome i. Die 1° Augusti. 


other in the same region of the Callistus Cemetery ; ' 
hence we find their names in the same inscription 
with that of the glorious Martyr in whom we are so 
deeply interested. After these four names, comes that 
of Cecilia, followed by that of Tarsicius, who, as we 
have said, reposed near her in the cemetery of Sixtus ; 
St. Cornelius is the next mentioned ; his tomb, re- 
cently discovered upon the Appian, forms another 
proof .of our assertion; and the number of martyrs 
mentioned later, confirms all we find in the guide- 
books relative to the Cemetery of Callistus. We 
have, therefore, a monument of the Gregorian period 
respecting St. Cecilia. This modest vial has been 
preserved for centuries, and a portion of the oil it 
contains was taken, during the pontificate of St. Gre- 
gory, from a lamp which burned near the virgin's 
tomb. The crypt of Cecilia and Sixtus has since been 
laid waste ; the monuments and lamps have dis- 
appeared ; Cecilia's body has been carried to Eome ; the 
subterranean vaults, formerly the object of such ardent 
veneration, have been silent and desolate for centuries, 
whilst the vial still exists, and is a proof of the vene- 
ration of the Eomans of the sixth century towards 
this spouse of Christ. But this is not all. Another 
vial in the treasury of Monza, containing oil from the 
lamps which burned near the tombs of Cecilia's hus- 
band and brother, bears the following inscription : 




Here we again find the many groups of martyrs we 
described as reposing at the extremity of the Callistus 
Cemetery, upon the right of the Appian: Sebastian, 


Eutychius, and Quirinus. Next follow three heroes, 
Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus, who were buried 
■upon the left side of the Appian. Sts. Urban and 
Januarius, whose tombs were situated in the same 
region, are very naturally added to the preceding. 
Here again a fragile vial, preserved by the piety of 
the faithful, serves, at the present day, to prove the 
faith and confidence reposed by the Christians of Eome 
and the Queen of the Lombards, in the noble heroes 
whose memory we have celebrated. These bottles 
were carried to Theodolinda by a person named John, 
who signed the parchment upon which they are de- 
scribed, without adding any titles to his signature, 
but those of sinner, wretched and unworthy. 45. Before 
concluding this chapter, we will mention a circum- 
stance which refers at least indirectly to our history. 
St. Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria, wrote to St. 
Gregory, begging that he would send him a copy of 
the Deeds of the Martyrs, formerly collected by Euse- 
bius. The holy Pope answered that he knew of no 
Acts of the Martyrs compiled by Eusebius, except 
those which are still found in his Ecclesiastical 
History. U I know of no other," adds the Pontiff, j 

* Marini. Papiri diplomatici. N. cxliii. 
f" Nulla in Archivio." Moretti observes with reason that, these 
words of St. Gregory should he understood in a relative, not in 
an absolute sense : pauca quccdam. The holy Pope had just told 
the Patriarch of Alexandria that the Roman Church possessed a 
book containing the names of nearly all the Martyrs pene omnium 
Martyrum, meaning the Martyrology ; it is very evident that 
there is no proportion between the number of Acts now extant, 
and that of the Martyrs whose names we know. Were the Acts 
of St. Cecilia to be found among the authentic collection of which 
St. Gregory speaks ? There is no doubt of it ; otherwise the 
Roman Church would not have taken from them the hymna 
consecrated to this Martyr upon her festival. 


either in the Archives of our Church or in the Eoman 
Libraries, unless it be a small number contained in 
a simple volume.' " 



Lsr 610, Pope St. Boniface IV. obtained from the 
Emperor Phocas, the famous temple, known as the 
Pantheon, to be converted into a church. We will 
not enlarge here upon this subject. Joseph de 
Maistre has treated it so nobly, that it would be 
presumptuous even to attempt it.* In one of its 
circumstances, however, the Christian inauguration 
of the Pantheon is of some importance in the annals 
of our saint, and we cannot pass over it in silence. 
Until the year when this took place, the Eomans 
had not thought of removing the remains of the 
martyrs to the numerous churches of the city. The 
faithful chose their sepulchres by the side of their 
valiant protectors, hoping to rise with more confi- 
dence in their company on the day of the general 
resurrection. Even after peace had been restored to 
the Church, the Popes themselves desired to be 
buried near the martyrs. We have already spoken 
of St. Damasus' humble wish to repose with the 
saints of the Appian way, and of his having erected 
* Du Pape. Tome II., pages 284-288. 


his own tomb at the entrance of the Ardeatine Crypts. 
His predecessors, Mark, Julius, and Liberius, ex- 
pressed the same desire. The first selected his sep- 
ulchre in the cemetery of Balbina, on the Ardeatine 
Way ; the second, in the cemetery of Callipodius on 
the Aurelian ; and the third in the Cemetery of 
Priscilla on the Salerian. Siricius and Celestinus 
prepared their tombs on this same AY ay. Anastasius 
and Innocent in the cemetery called Ad ursum pilea- 
tum ; Zosimus in that of Cyriacus in agro, Verano ; 
Boniface in that of St. Felicitas. 

Everything seemed to promise undisturbed repose 
to these venerated bodies, confided to the silent 
vaults, which even the Pagans had rarely violated 
during the persecutions. 

But Almighty God, in His Providence, had other 
designs with regard to the crypts of the Holy City. 
He intended they should be an inexhaustible mine, 
from which the bones of the Saints. should be trans- 
lated, to repose under the altar of sacrifice, and thus 
signify the union of the members with their divine 

We have seen John III. repairing the cemeteries 
after the incursions of the Goths ; these barbarians 
had scarcely disappeared, w r hen the Lombards began 
to establish their power in the Italian peninsula. 
They frequently besieged Eome, and while encamped 
round the city, often entered the crypts and com- 
mitted many sacrilegious devastations. From that 
time, the Popes felt it necessary to make the succes- 
sive translations which almost depopulated the ceme- 
teries. But such was, according to the beautiful idea 


of Prudentius, the holy fertility of the Eoman soil,* 
that although immense cohorts of martyrs reascended 
in triumph to the light of day during the seventh, 
eighth, and ninth centuries, many tombs are still 
found from time to time, some with the martyr's 
name engraven upon the sepulchral stone, f others 
bearing no inscription, the names of those who re- 
pose within them, being known only to Christ, for 
whom they shed their blood.;}: The first solemn 
translation was made by order of St. Boniface, at 
the dedication of the Pantheon. Twenty-eight 
chariots, filled with bones of the martyrs, taken 
from the different crypts, traversed the streets of 
Eome, and St. Boniface deposited under the new 
altar the relics mutilated for Christ, but reserved for 
an endless triumph. § 

* Vix fama nota est, abditis 
Quam plena Sanctis Roma sit, 
Quam dives urbanuin solum 
Sacris sepulchris floreat. 

Prudentius, peri stephanon, Hymn. S. Laurentii. 
f Plurima litterulis signata sepulchra loquuntur 

Martyris aut nomen, aut epigramma aliquod. 
Ibid. Hymnus S. Hippolyti 
X Quorum solus habet comperta vocabula Christus. 

§ Boldetti. Osservazioni sopra i Cimiterj de' santi Martiri. 
Page 6ti6, We readily aceept this tradition, wliicli is based 
upon an ancient manuscript found by Baronius, MartyroJ. Roman. 
ad diem xiii. Maii. in the archives of Sanctse Maria? ad Martyres. 
Facts of this nature are seldom invented, and although the mar- 
tyrs were removed from the Catacombs principally during the 
eighth century, it is natural to admit that the ravages made bv 
the Goths, in the sixth, must have so completely destroyed some 
of the galleries as to render it impossible to repair them. The 
Pontiff wished to ensure a suitable ami safe resting-place for the 


The temple of all the Gods received the name of 
" Sanctse Mariae ad Martyres," thus blending under 
this title the great Queen of heaven and earth, and 
those to whom the Christian Church owes one of the 
most invincible arguments of her divinity. Cecilia 
was not among those who were removed by Boni- 
face. Two centuries were destined to elapse before 
the tomb sealed by St. Urban was to be opened. 

We will not enumerate the different translations 
made by the successors of St. Boniface up to the pon- 
tificate of Paschal L, who had the glory of transferring 
Cecilia's body to the altar of her Basilica. These 
imposing translations continued until the twelfth cen- 
tury. After this period, subterranean Eome remained 
in the silence of its sacred gloom for nearly three 
centuries, not being even disturbed by the ravages 
made by the troops under the command of the Con- 
stable de Bourbon. Men shrunk from these gloomy 
cities of the dead, and, with the exception of the corri- 
dors which opened near the Basilicas or in the light 
of day, the immense city of Martyrs was rarely visited 
by the faithful. Towards the close of the sixteenth cen- 
tury, Borne awoke to the consciousness of the marvels 
buried in her bosom, thanks to the courageous de- 
hones of the saints, and the dedication of an edifice like the 
Pantheon, furnished him an opportunity of carrying out his de- 
sign. It is true that the Liber Pontificalis does not give in detail 
this translation of the martyrs, but merely remarks that Boni- 
face IV., in dedicating the Pantheon, placed therein, some 
relics, et reliquias in ea collocavit, but this indication, which of 
itself would be insufficient, on account of the vague idea con- 
veyed by the word reliquias, is fully explained by the testimony 
of the manuscript cited by Baronius, whilst it also accords with 
historical conjectures. 


votedness of Antonio Bosio, who, with pious boldness 
and profound erudition, entered upon this colossal 
enterprise of exploration. In the following century, 
the Apostolic See authorized the search for the bodies 
of the Martyrs, and determined with great prudence 
the only unquestionable signs by which they could 
be discerned. We shall, before long, again visit these 
mysterious vaults, and return with the precious trea- 
sure too long hidden in the bowels of the earth. In 
the meantime, the Roman faith was being propagated 
throughout the north of Europe by the indefatigable 
preaching of the Benedictines. From the day when 
St. Gregory sent the monk Augustine to plant the 
standard of the Cross in the Isle of Britain, a number 
of apostolic preachers, principally monks, continued 
up to the twelfth century to preach to the Saxons, 
Germans, Scandinavians, Slavonians, and Livonians. 
They all came to visit the Eternal City, some before 
beginning their missions, others in the midst of their 
combats, eager to imitate the Apostle of the Gentiles, 
who, after being wrapt to the third heaven, neverthe- 
less thought it his duty, as he himself tells us, to visit 
St. Peter and compare his gospel with that of the 
supreme Pontiff.* In 696, St. Willibrord, Apostle 
of Friesland, visited Rome. Pope St. Sergius wished 
to consecrate as bishop this herald of the divine word. 
On the feast of St. Cecilia, and in her Basilica, he 
imposed hands upon Willibrord, to whom he gave 
the name of Clement, as a new link to bind him to 
the Roman Church, which had been so gloriously 
illustrated by this disciple of St. Peter, f Thus the 

* 1 Gal. 18. | Von. Beda. Histor. Eccles. Anglo, lib. v., cap. xii. 



episcopal see of Utrecht was founded by St. Willi- 
brord under the auspices of St, Cecilia. About the 
same time, a marvellous book appeared in the Isle of 
Britain, consecrated to the glory and merit of Christ- 
ian Virginity, and worthy to be ranked with those 
written upon the same subject by Saints Cyprian, 
Methodius, Ambrose, and Augustin. Its author was 
the monk St. Adhelm, Bishop of the Western Saxons, 
who thus celebrated, in the most melodious verse and 
delightful prose, the glory and happiness of the Spouse 
of Christ. Such was the elevated opinion, entertained 
by the pious Bishop of Sherburn, of Cecilia's merits 
and the honor she enjoyed in heaven, that after having 
exalted the incomparable prerogative of Mary, the 
Queen of Virgins, he places Cecilia first in the rank 
of those who follow her to the heavenly spouse. She 
is attended by Agatha, Lucy, Eugenia, Agnes, Doro- 
thy, and many others, whose virtues he extols. This 
holy prelate died in 709. He composed, about the 
year 680, this graceful work which he styles " de Laude 
Virginitatis," and borrowed from our Acts all that he 
says with regard to St. Cecilia.* England, that 

* We transcribe tlie verses of St. Adhelm as being the most 
ancient poems extant on St. Cecilia after the hymn of the Gothic 

Porro Caeciliae vivacem condere laudem, 
Quae valeat digno metrorum pagina versu ? 
Quae sponsum proprium convertit dogmate sancto, 
Mellea carnalis contemnens ludicra luxus : 
Basia dum potius dilexit dulcia Christi, 
Candida praepulchris complect ens colla lacertis. 
Quamvis harmoniis praesultent organa multis, 
Musica Pierio resonent, et carmina cantu ; 
Non tamen inflexit fallax praecordia mentis 
Pompa prophanorum, quae nectit retia Sanctis, 
Ne forto properet paTadisi ad gaudia miles. 


daughter of the Eoman Church, had therefore re- 
ceived from her august mother, together with the holy 
gospels, the touching recital of the virtues and tri- 
umphs of Cecilia. We have another proof of this in 
the martyrology, which Bede, the celebrated doctor 
and historian of the Anglo Saxon Church, composed 
about the same time in his monastery of Weremouth. 
The eulogium which he consecrated to Cecilia, not- 
withstanding its brevity, contains an analysis of the 
Acts. It is stated that the Saint converted to the 
faith of Jesus Christ, her husband Valerian and Ti- 
burtius his brother ; that she prepared them for mar- 
tyrdom ; and that she herself, after having withstood 
the fire, perished by the sworcl, under the Prefect of 
Rome,, Almachius.* m 

Taliter interea compellans vocibus, infit, 
Dum secreta petunt, concessa lege thororum : 
Angelus en, inquit, superis tranavit ab astris : 
Hie me, patronus, coelesti foedere fulcit, 
Ut nequeam prorsus quidquam carnalis amare ; 
Namq'ue meum jugiter conservat corpus in sevum, 
Ut nnllus valeat spurco succensus amore 
Contrectare mea probroso crimine membra : 
Sed mox Angelicis ulciscens vindicat armis, 
Qui me pollutis nituntur prendere palmis. 
Sic devota Deo convertit foemina sponsum. 
Nee non, et levirum solvens errore vetusto, 
Donee credentes sumpsissent dona lavacri. 
Facti municipes in summis arcibus, ambo 
Martyres effecti, carnis tormenta luentes. 

Biblioth. Vet. Pat., tome xiii. page 14. 

* X. Kal. Natale S. Caeoilise Virginia, quae et sponsum suum 
Valerianum et fratrem ejus Tiburtium ad credendum Christo ao 
martyrium perdocuit : et ipsa deinde martyrizavit, ignem quidem 
superans, Red ferro occisa, sub Almachio Urbis Pr»fecto. Marty- 
rplogium Bedat. Ada SS. Martii y tome ii. page xxxix. 


About the year 731, St, Gregory III. undertook to 
repair the Churches of the Pretextatus Cemetery. 
He rebuilt the arch of that of St, Tiburtius and Va- 
lerian, which seemed fast decaying. He also directed 
his attention to the Basilica of Sts. Urban and Janu- 
arius, which he repaired like the former. In the 
course of time, these venerable edifices, more and 
more neglected in consequence of the martyrs' bodies 
having been transferred to the city, crumbled away, 
some partly, others entirely, and covered the ground 
with their ruins. The Church of St. Cecilia in Rome 
continued to receive the homages of the faithful. 
Under the Pontificate of St. Gregory III., the deacon 
Moschus was buried therein, and his epitaph, which is 
still preserved, expresses the love and confidence he 
had vowed to this holy martyr. It is under the 
portico of the Basilica towards the right and runs thus : 


Four other sanctuaries were erected in honor of 
St. Cecilia, either outside the city or within its walls. 

* According to the opinion of the learned Gaetano Marini, this 
deacon, Moschus, is the same with the arch deacon of the same 
name, mentioned in the celebrated inscription found in the Vati- 
can Crypts. The inscription contains also important fragments of 
the Acts of a Council, held, against the Iconoclasts, by Gregory 
III., near the Confession of St. Peter. Vid. MaiL Scrip, vett. Tome 
v. p. 466. 


Outside the city, on the Appian Way, that called 
" Ad Sanctam Caeciliam," with which our readers are 
already acquainted ; another upon the Tiburtine Way, 
which has been entirely destroyed. About the middle 
of the seventh century, Pope St. Zachary undertook the 
restoration of the latter, embellished it with paintings, 
endowed it, and made it a dependency of the Church 
of St. Peter.- In the interior of the city, the Basi< 
lica of Saint Cecilia de Domo, of which we have 
spoken; and another, called Saint Cecilia de Lupo 
Pacho, and elsewhere de Turre Campi. Later, it was 
distinguished under the name of Sancta Cecilia a 
.Monte Giordano, because the quarter in which it was 
situated, formerly belonged to Giordano Orsini.f We 
shall again refer to these two Churches. In the year 
768, for the second time, the titulary Cardinal of the 
Basilica of St. Cecilia, who had been named to that 
office by St. Zachary, ascended the Apostolic Chair, 
under the title of Stephen IV. This election took 
place in the Church itself. Two years after, in 770, 
St. Opportuna, the pious abbess of Montr euil, was 
warned of her approaching death in a vision in which 
Cecilia appeared to her on the 10th of April, at day 
break. Opportuna's cell was suddenly illuminated 
with the most dazzling light and embalmed with 
delightful perfumes. Two celestial virgins descended 
towards her, radiant with glory. They were Cecilia 
and Lucy, resplendent with light and beauty. The 
holy Abbess, recognizing them through divine inspira- 
tion, thus addressed them: "Hail, Oh my sisters, 

* Anastas. In Zacharia. 

t See the diploma of Urban III., in Fonseca do Basilica S. Lau- 
rentii in Dainaso, Page. 252. 



Cecilia and Lucy! What does the glorious virgin 
Mary, Queen of Heaven, Virgin of Virgins, ask of 
her humble servant?" The two messengers of the 
Mother of God replied : " Opportuna, faithful Spouse 
of Christ, the most pure Virgin Mary awaits thy com- 
ing. The moment has arrived when thou shalt be 
united in Heaven to her Son whom thou hast loved 
upon earth with all the strength of thy love. Put on 
thy crown of glory ; light thy lamp ; the moment 
approaches when thou shalt be presented to thy 
heavenly Spouse." Twelve days scarcely elapsed 
before the virgin breathed her last sigh in the arms 
of the Queen of Angels.* 

St. Leo III., who had terminated the eighth cen- 
tury with so much glory, by placing the imperial 
crown upon the head of Charlemagne, on Christmas 
day, A. D. 800, was distinguished for his liberal 
donations to the churches of Rome. To the Basilica 
of St. Cecilia, he presented an altar-cloth of a material 
called Stauracin, which was a kind of gold brocade, 
studded with crosses. He also presented one of the 
silver crowns, which at that time were suspended 
before the altar, and served as chandeliers. This 
silver ornament weighed ten pounds and one ounce.f 



The moment had at length arrived when the dis- 
covery of the long-lost sepulchre of St. Cecilia, was 

* Mabillon Acta S. S. Ordinis S. Benedicti. Ssee. iii., part ii., 
page 230. 

t Anastas. In Leone III, 


to verify the numerous traditions concerning this 
saint, to which not only Kome, but the entire West, 
had clung for centuries, with ever increasing enthu- 
siasm. In 817, Paschal ascended the Apostolic 
chair, and seemed to have been especially chosen to 
people the churches of Eome with the relics of the 
martyrs. It became almost a necessity to remove 
these holy remains from those grottos, the vaults of 
which were crumbling to decay, and which were no 
longer visited so eagerly by the pious faithful. 

In 761, the holy Pope, Paul I., had opened an 
immense number of tombs, in the crypts which 
seemed most liable to be destroyed, and had dis- 
tributed the martyrs' bones among the churches,* 
monasteries, and Basilicas. The Papal Chronicle 
particularly designates the Church of St. Silvester's 
Monastery, on the Campus Martius, which had been 
founded by the Pope, as having been more favored 
than the others. In a document relating to this 
monastery, Paul gives his motive for disturbing 
these venerated remains. " Throughout the course 
of ages," he says, " many cemeteries of the Holy 
Martyrs and Confessors, have been neglected and 
destroyed. During the impious invasions of the 
Lombards, they were ravaged from one end to the 
other. These barbarians even went so far as to 
search the sepulchres, and carry away many glori- 
ous bodies. From this disastrous period, these ceme- 
teries were no longer treated with the same honor, 
the faithful having become very negligent in visiting 
them. Must I say they have even allowed their 

* Anastas. In Paulo, 


animals to enter freely into these sacred vaults, and 
some have not hesitated to use them as enclosures 
for their flocks.''* Nevertheless, throughout the 
eighth and ninth centuries, the numerous pilgrims 
who yearly visited Borne, considered it a duty to 
descend into the cemeteries of the martyrs, and visit 
the Basilicas which gave entrance to them. Divine 
Providence has permitted that many of the guide- 
books in which they noted down all that their piety 
rendered them anxious to remember after their return 
home, should be preserved to the present day. These 
documents, drawn up without art, frequently even in- 
correctly, give us, among other things, the topography 
of the cemeteries upon the different Ways, the details 
of their accompanying Basilicas, the more or less 
precise locality of several martyrs 7 tombs in the 
same crypt; in a word, they are the only light with 
which we can illumine the gloom of the Catacombs. 
All the authors who have formerly spoken of sub- 
terranean Eome, have, on account of not using them, 
made numerous and inevitable errors. 

With the assistance of these documents, many 
obscurities have been cleared up, and positive facts 
have been substituted for the erroneous assertions 
which learned men had derived, either from state- 
ments drawn up at a period when traditions con- 
cerning the Catacombs had perished, or from con- 
jectures totally void of foundation. With the assis- 
tance of these valuable guide-books, we cheerfully 
contribute the little that is in our power to that reno- 

* See a long passage of this letter of Pope Paul 1st, in Bol- 
detti, p. 96. 


vation of the antiquities of Christian Eome which, 
we doubt not, will be effected at some future day : 
and we earnestly pray that our illustrious friend, 
who seems to have been chosen by heaven for this 
noble mission, may successfully accomplish the task. 
His genius has conceived it ; his vast science can 
compass it ; and his piety convinces him of its im- 
portance. The series of guide books of which we 
speak, commences at the last year of the sixth century, 
with the list of the holy oils sent to Theodolinda ; 
it is continued by two descriptive documents taken 
from a manuscript of St. Peter of Salzbourg, the 
first evidently belonging to the seventh century ; 
these two documents are more detailed than others, and 
have already corrected many errors. That inserted 
by William of Malmesbury in his history follows, 
and is also filled with the most precious topographical 
documents. It must have been written previous to 
the year 818, since he describes many Martyrs as 
reposing in the Catacombs, who were transferred to 
the Churches of Rome by St. Paschal in that year. 
Finally, the last is that which Dom Mabillon found 
in the Library of Einsiedelen, and which, according 
to its topographical details, can scarcely be dated 
earlier than the ninth century. It is true there are 
not many details with respect to the Martyrs, as he 
confines himself to the description of the Basilicas 
erected upon the Cemeterial Ways. But we know 
that after the relics were taken away, these churches 
were not visited, and being deplorably neglected, 
gradually crumbled into ruins. 

As we have already seen, in the document of St. 


Paul L, the neglect of the Eomans towards these 
sacred cemeteries, caused them to be totally aban- 
doned. In the beginning of the ninth century, the 
inconvenience of this state of things was still more 
sensibly felt, and it became necessary to put an end 
to it. The cemeteries of the Appian Way had been 
generally kept in better order, either on account of 
the restorations made at different epochs, or of the 
special veneration in which they were held ; but the 
condition into which they had fallen on account of 
the devastations of the Lombards, joined to other 
causes which we have mentioned, imperiously called 
for some decided measures on the part of the Eoman 
Pontiff. In the second year of his Pontificate, Pas- 
chal commenced the course of solemn Translations 
which marked his reign in so special a manner. 
We may form some idea of the importance of the 
removals made by Paschal at this time, by reading 
the contemporaneous inscriptions exposed in the 
crypts of the Church of St. Praxedes. Two thousand 
three hundred Martyrs are therein mentioned, as 
having been buried by the Pontiff, either under the 
principal Altar, or in other parts of the Basilica, 
situated upon the right of the entrance, or finally in 
a chapel dedicated to St. Agnes. 

We learn from this precious inscription, that the 
Pontiff transferred the bodies of the most illustrious 
martyrs of the Appian Way, to the Church of St. 
Praxedes. Many of the Pontiffs of the cemetery of 
Sixtus, were included in this translation. First, 
Sixtus himself; afterwards, Pontianus, Anterus, 
Fabian, Lucius, Stephen, and Melchiades. Urban 


had been brought from the cemetery of Pretextatus 
and united to his colleagues. The bodies of other 
Pontiffs, taken from different cemeteries, completed 
this imposing collection.* Then followed a legion 
of martyrs, some designated by their names, others 
by their total number in each section. Holy women 
who had been the ornament of Christian Eome, com- 
pleted this assemblage of the elect. The most illus- ' 
trious were Praxedes and Pudentiana, Symphorosa, 
Felicula, Zoe, Daria, and Emerentiana.f Cecilia 
*vas not among them. 

One day, in the year 821, Paschal J was praying in 
the Basilica of St. Cecilia, when he was struck with 
the dilapidated state of this august sanctuaiy. The 
walls, which had been restored by St. Gregory, more 
than two centuries before, were fast decaying, and 
there was every reason to fear that, unless prompt 
and efficacious measures were taken, the ancient 
church, to which many sublime remembrances were 
attached, would soon be a heap of ruins. Paschal 
immediately made a resolution to repair the church 
throughout, and to rebuild it in a style of magnifi- 
cence even far surpassing its original splendor. 

* They were Popes Alexander, Felix, Julius, Siricius, Ana- 
stasius, and Celestin. 

f See the inscription given for the first time in full, by His 
Eminence Cardinal Mai Scriptorum veterum norm collectio, tome 
v. pages 38, 40. The bodies of the martyrs to whom this in- 
scription is dedicated, with the exception of a very few which 
have been transferred elsewhere, still repose behind the marble 
slabs which at some future day, may be removed to take out 
these sacred bones, when the galleries of the Catacombs are at 
length exhausted. 

J Anastas. In Paschalu 


Paschal had been so zealous in recovering the re- 
mains of the holy martyrs, that he could not conceive 
such a project without desiring to find Cecilia's body, 
that he might translate it solemnly to the house which 
she had sanctified by her presence, and consecrated 
with her blood. Before the Pontificate of Paschal, 
her body had been vainly sought in all the crypts of 
the Appian Way. Many reasons had rendered these 
researches fruitless. It is true that Cecilia's tomb 
could not be far distant from the church that bore 
her name, and that of Sixtus ; but the gallery which 
concealed this glorious sepulchre was at some distance 
from the entrance to the Basilica. There was 
nothing about the tomb calculated to attract atten- 
tion. A narrow and rather elevated recess, closed by 
a marble slab without inscription, might easily be 
overlooked among so many tombs, placed one above 
the other. Cecilia's tomb, although near the Papal 
Sepulchres, was totally different, and before open- 
ing it, it would have been impossible to understand 
why St. Urban chose so honorable, and yet so modest 
a sepulchre for the virgin. 

As we have already seen, the Goths, in the sixth 
century, made great ravages in the Catacombs, de- 
stroyed sepulchres, and shattered the inscriptions. 
This violence and the gradual abandonment of the 
sacred crypts, accounts for the disappearance of the 
epitaph which St. Damasus, or his successors, must 
have dedicated to St. Cecilia, and which in any case 
could not have been fastened upon the tomb, on ac- 
count of its peculiar form. However this may be, 
we find in the guide-books of Salzbourg, that Cecilia's 


tomb was well known in the seventh century, and 
that it was not far from the sepulchres of the holy 
Popes, Fabian, Sixtus, and Dionysius. 

On the other hand, the Malmesbury guide-book, 
which must have been written previous to the year 
818, in which St. Paschal removed the bodies of the 
holy Pontiffs, Sixtus and Dionysius, relates that 
these Popes still reposed in the Cemetery ad Sanctam 
Caeciliam, and yet makes no mention of St. Cecilia ; 
all traces of the latter must have been lost between the 
end of the seventh, and commencement of the ninth 
century. This therefore must have been the period 
at which the sacred Cemeteries began to be less 
frequented. But God willed that this very forgetful- 
ness should preserve the tomb of St. Cecilia, under 
circumstances when it would otherwise have been 
despoiled of the sacred treasure it contained. 

The Lombards, commanded by Luitprand, and later 
by Astolphus, besieged Rome several times during the 
eighth century. They entered the sacred Cemeteries 
and carried off the relics of many martyrs. They 
were very anxious to find the body of St. Cecilia, but 
after a persevering search were unable to discover it. 
Such zeal in these converted barbarians will scarcely 
surprise us when we reflect that Luitprand purchased 
with gold from the Saracens, the body of St Augus- 
tin, which he transferred from Sardinia to Pa via. 

But God would not permit Rome to be deprived 
of a treasure which, for a moment, she did not fully 
appreciate. It finally became the general opinion in 
the Holy City that Cecilia's body had been carried 
away by the Lombards. Paschal was not discouraged, 



and eager to consecrate the restored Basilica, by 
placing its illustrious patroness under the altar, he 
commanded that the search should be recommenced. 
He even visited the crj-pts himself, but could not find 
the Virgin's body in any of the tombs he opened. 
Finally, yielding too readily to the general opinion, 
he gave up the search in despair, but the time 
had arrived when Cecilia was to re-appear and enter 
triumphantly into Eome. 

One day, Paschal (he himself relates the circum- 
stance) was assisting at the divine office in the Basi- 
lica of St. Peter, near the Confession. The clerks 
were melodiously chanting Lauds, and the Pontift 
listened to the harmonious canticles with pious de- 
light. He was finally overcome by drowsiness, the 
consequence of his protracted vigils.* The sacred 
chants sounded in his ears like a distant echo ; but 
his eyes, closed to exterior objects, were suddenly 
struck by a luminous vision. A young virgin of 
great beauty and adorned like the Spouse of Christ, 
stood before him. 

Looking steadily at the Pontiff, she said in a firm 
voice: "We owe thee many thanks! Hast thou 
then, on simple reports and false rumors, abandoned 
all hope of finding me ? Nevertheless at one time 
thou wert so near me, we could have conversed 

* Unde tamen, Domini annuente dementia, quadam die dum 
ante Confessionem Beati Petri Apostoli, psallentmm matutinali 
lucescente Dominica residentes observaremus harmoniam, so- 
pore in aliquo corporis fragilitatem aggravante. Paschalis Papce 

f Astitit nobis pnella pulcherrima virginali aspectu, vel ha- 


"Who art thou," asked the Pontiff, deeply agitated, 
11 who speakest to me with so much assurance?" 

" If thou wouldst know my name," said the virgin, 
" I am called Cecilia, servant of Christ."* Paschal 
who knew that apparitions are not always an index 
of heaven's will, replied: "But how can we believe 
thee ? Men say that the body of this holy martyr 
was carried away by the Lombards." " They did 
seek me," said the Virgin, " for a long time and with 
great perseverance ; but the Virgin Mother of God 
protected me. She would not permit them to carry 
me away, and I am still in the same place where I 
first reposed. Thou hast commenced researches ; con- 
tinue them, for it has pleased the Almighty God, in 
whose honor I suffered, to reveal my tomb to thee. 
Take away my body, together with those of the other 
Saints near me, and place us in the Church thou hast re- 
cently restored."f After these words she disappeared. 

bitu decorata, taliaque nobis, intuens, ait : Multas tibi gratias 
referimus : certamen quod in- me diu apposueras, frustatoriis 
relationibus pervulgatis, sine causa reliquisti ? Qui tanto 
penes me fuisti, quod ore proprio loqui communiter valebamus. 
Paschalis Papce diploma, 

* Et dum a nobis diligenter interrogata fuisset : Tu quis es ? 
Vel quod est nomen tuum, qui talia me prsesuniendo conaris ? 
Si e nomine quaeris, Csecilia, inquit, famula Christi vocor. Ibid. 

f Cui subjungens dixit : Quomodo hoe credere possumus, quia 
olim fama relata est, quod ejusdem sacratissimsc Martyris corpus 
a Longobardis inde fuisset ablatum ? Quae ita respondent dixit : 
Veritas est, quod multum me desideranter quaesierunt, sed gratia 
Dominae meae semperque Virginia Dei Genitricis affuit, quod 
qualiter quotidie praesto sum, nullatenus me longius abire por- 
misit ; sed sicut coepisti perage, et sicut operaris indesinenter 
operare, quia omnipotens Deus tibi me placuit revelare, et cor- 
pus meum cum aliis corporibus Sanctis, qua sunt juxta me, re- 
conditis, in Titulo quern nupcr repafari mandasti, recondere 
stude infra muros urbis. Et ha>c dicens abcessit. Ibid, 


r Ke-animated by this vision, Paschal caused a new 
search to be made in the Cemetery of Sixtus. The 
name of this holy Pontiff united to that of Cecilia in 
designating the same Church of entrance, naturally 
guided the explorers. Much time had been lost in 
searching the Cemetery of Pretextatus, and always 
in vain. At this time the crypts of Callistus were 
frequently confounded with those of Pretextatus, at 
the point where these two cemeteries were blended into 
one, near the Church of St. Sebastian. This is very 
evident from the text of Anastasius,* a contemporary 
historian, whose description of the discovery of Ce- 
cilia's body perfectly accords with Paschal's account. 
The Pontiff did not now seek on the left of the 
Appian, a tomb which from the locality of the Ba- 
cilica ad Sanctam Casciliam, he felt assured was on 
the right. He descended the steps and once more 
explored the sacred labyrinth. He finally reached 
the subterranean galleries near the Church of Sebas- 
tian. At a point where two roads crossed, a hitherto 
unexplored tomb, placed in the angle of intersection, 
struck his eyes. This sepulchre had been overlooked 
on account of its extreme simplicity, but its peculiar 
shape and the rememberance of Cecilia's words, in- 
duced the Pontiff to examine it. He ordered the 
marble to be removed, and to his excessive joy, dis- 
covered in this deep and narrow cell, the tomb he had 
so vainly sought. Cecilia reposed in her cypress 
coffin, dressed in the antique robe of silk and gold in 
which Urban had buried her ; and the linen and veils 
which had been used to staunch her wounds, were 

* Anastase. In PaschalL 


rolled together and placed at her feet. Paschal certi- 
fies that he touched with his own hands the venerated 
remains of the daughter of the Cecilii.* The bodies 
of Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus, were at a short 
distance ;f nothing remained but to restore this illus- 
trious family of martys to Kome. 

But Urban was destined to share with his noble 
daughter, the triumph prepared for her. St. Paschal 
had already transferred the body of this holy Pon- 
tiff to the church of St. Praxedes; after recovering 
Cecilia's body, he formed the project of placing the 
remains of the holy Pope under the same Altar with 
those of Cecilia and her companions. He made 
every preparation to celebrate the Translation of 
these venerated Martyrs with all the pomp and 
solemnity so great a ceremony required. 

* Tunc etenim pro hujus revelationis manifestatione, omni 
postposita difficultate, incunctanter et absque ambiguitato ipsius 
venerabilis Virginis corpus inquirendum decrevimus ; qui etiam 
annuente Deo, ej usque solito juvamine properantes, in Ccemeterio 
sancti Sixti situm foris portam Appiam, sicut in sacratissima 
illius Passione manifeste narratur, inter collegas episcopos, in 
aureis indumentis, cum venerabili sponso reperimus, ubi etiam 
linteamina, cum quibus sacratissimus sanguis ejus abstersus est 
de plagis, quas spiculator trinapercussione crudeliter ingesserat, 
ad pedes beatissima3 Virginis in unum revoluta, plenaque cruore 
invenimus ; qua? omnia nostris manibus pertractantes, cum ve- 
nerabili corpore honeste infra muros hujus Romanae Urbis in- 
duximus. Paschalis Papm Diploma. 

f We should not understand literally that Paschal found Ce- 
cilia with her husband. It is evident that the two bodies were 
not in the same tomb, but the sepulchres were close together : so 
Cecilia related to St. Paschal when she appeared to him. Mere- 
over, if Paschal had found Cecilia and Valerian buried to- 
gether, he would not have separated them in the trans-Tiberian 





Cecilia was about to return to the Holy City 
which had been honored by her presence so many 
centuries before. The house where she had won so 
many souls to Christ, which she had sanctified with 
her blood, and transmitted to Pope Urban, to be 
converted into a temple of the Lord, she would now 
find restored by another Pontiff, and faithfully pre- 
serving the destination she had given it at her death. 

Several months had elapsed since the day when 
Paschal had resolved to restore this sanctuary. On 
the 8th of the Ides of May (8 May)* 822, the Pontifi 
solemnly dedicated St. Cecilia's Church, and doubt- 
less upon the same day he placed her holy relics 
under the Confession. 

He placed a white marble sarcophagus for the vir- 
gin, who richly merited the first honors of so mag- 
nificent a triumph. Paschal, following Urban's ex- 
ample, respected the attitude of the Virgin. He left 
her in the cypress coffin just as he had found her; 
but he lined the inside of it with a rich fringed silk 
damask, called quadrapulum ; over her body he threw 
a light silken veil, also fringed, and made of a 
materia^ called stauracin.'f When he had concluded 

* See the ordo of the church of St. Cecilia 8 May, and the titles 
published by Laderchi vol. ii. page 10. 

t Fecit etiam in arcella ad corpus jam dictse Vlrginis vestem do 
quadrapulo cum periclysi. Item ct aliam vestem de stauraci cum 

mclvsi de olovero. Anaias. Li Paschal L 


these arrangements, he closed . the tomb with a ' 
marble slab which was destined not to be removed 
for eight centuries. 

The three bodies of Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maxi- 
mus, were placed in a second sarcophagus ; Valerian 
between the two other martyrs, and each one wrapped 
in a separate winding-sheet. Before closing the 
second sepulchre, Paschal took the head of Tiburtius 
which had been severed by the sword, and placed 
this precious relic in a silver casket, weighing eight 
pounds, wishing that the faithful should have con- 
tinually before their eyes, so eloquent a testimony 
of the martyr's courage.* 

Paschal prepared a third sarcophagus for the body 
of Urban, whom he wished to place with his spi- 
ritual children. That the holy Pope might not 
repose alone, he removed the body of Lucius, a suc- 
cessor of St. Urban, and also a martyr, from the 
church of St. Praxedes, and interred the Pontiffs 
together. Urban and Lucius were also wrapped 
each in a separate winding-sheet. Paschal having 
closed this third sepulchre, caused a circular wall to 
be built round the place where the martyrs reposed. 
A marble slab, bearing a mosaic cross and an in- 
scription, was placed inside the sepulchre, near the 
tombs, to certify to posterity, the value of the treasure 
which Paschal had interred there. 

* Anastasius, or his copyist, erred in attributing to Cecilia 
the head of which we speak. When the virgin's tomb was 
opened the second time, the head was found with the body ; 
and the tradition of the Basilica, which attributed the head to 
Tiburtius, was confirmed by opening the tomb of the latter. 


The following verses were engraven on the marble : 


The principal altar of the church was erected over 
the tombs ; according to custom, an opening pro- 
tected by a movable grating, and called fenestella, 
was cut in the solid stone; and within was a per- 
pendicular conduit, by means of which, pieces of 
linen, called brandea, were lowered down to the tomb. 
After having been sanctified by this sacred contact, 
these linen cloths were distributed as relics. Paschal 
covered the altar, and the interior of the above-men- 
tioned aperture with silver plates, and placed on the 
altar a magnificent ciborium of the same metal, weigh- 
ing five hundred pounds. He adorned the Confes- 
sion with a statue of St. Cecilia, also of silver, weigh- 
ing ninety-five pounds. Three other statues, prob- 
ably those of Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus, 
were grouped around that of the virgin. They were 
made of the same material, but were gilded, and the 
three together weighed forty-eight pounds. One 
hundred pounds of silver were employed in the deco- 

* When Paschal restored this church, he sought for and dis- 
covered the body of the martyr, Cecilia, which he placed under 
this marble. The Pontiffs Lucius and Urban are with her, and 
you, also, Tiburtius, Valerian, and Maximus, occupy an honor- 
able place. Here repose those whom Rome reveres as her power- 
ful protectors. 


rations of two columns of Byzantine workmanship, 
which supported an arcade, the whole interior of 
which was covered with silver plates.* 

The Papal Chronicle also gives an inventory of the 
sacred vessels and furniture presented by Paschal to 
the Basilica. We mention these details to prove this 
Pontiff's veneration for the holy martyrs, also to 
give some idea of the wealth of the Eoman churches 
in the ninth century. Among the offerings were 
twenty-six silver chalices for the different altars, 
weighing together one hundred and nine pounds ; 
two silver lamps, each weighing two pounds; a basin 
of pure gold, weighing three pounds ; a silver censor 
weighing one pound ; a purple altar-cloth, the centre 
of gold brocade, upon which was embroidered an 
angel distributing crowns to Valerian, Cecilia, and 
Tiburtius, the whole trimmed with gold fringe of 
marvellous workmanship ; costly veils and tapestry, 
some destined for the Confession, others for different 
altars of the Basilica, and for the Presbytery, with- 
out counting the large and rich curtain, hanging at 
the entrance of the church.f 

A description of these fabrics, all of the richest 
material, would detain us too long; we will, how- 
ever, mention another altar-cloth which Paschal pre- 
sented a short time before his death. It was of gold 
brocade, and enriched with a magnificent piece of 
embroidery, representing the resurrection of our 

This Basilica, which the Pontiff had decorated 
with such magnificence, was built according to the 
* Anastas. In Paschali. \ Ibid. \ Ibid, 


style observed in all the Eoman churches. A court 
surrounded by a portico, with a fountain in the cen- 
tre, was in front of the building. 

The bath room in which Cecilia breathed her last 
sigh, was upon the right, at the entrance of the Bas- 
ilica. Above the columns of the grand nave, Pas- 
chal caused to be painted a series of the Eoman 
Pontiffs, from St. Peter to himself, similar to those 
in the churches of St. Peter and of St. Paul.* 

Between the apsis and the grand nave, a trium- 
phal arch was erected covered with a brilliant 
mosaic. In the centre, the mother of God was re- 
presented seated upon a throne, and holding the Di- 
vine Infant on her knees. She is accompanied by two 
Angels, one standing on her right, the other on her 
left. On either side, five Virgins are advancing 
towards the throne of the Son and His mother, each 
presenting a crown. These virgins are separated one 
from the other by palm trees. Lower down, the 
twenty-four elders of the Apocalypse, twelve on 
either side, are represented raising their crowns to 
Christ, to whose glory this triumphal arch was 
consecratedf The mosaic of the apsis was not exe- 
cuted until after the translation of the Martyrs, as 
Paschal desired by its means to perpetuate the remem- 
brance of this event so glorious for the Basilica. 

It has been preserved until the present day, and 
although the rich enamel is somewhat faded, the 
mosaic is none the less venerable. In the centre, our 
Saviour is represented standing, and clothed in a 

* Marangoni. Cose gentilesche ad uso delle cliiese. Page 311. 
f The design of this mosaic, which has been destroyed, may 
be found in Ciampini, Vetera Monimenta, tome ii. page 157. 


mantle sparkling with gold. With His right hand, 
he is giving a blessing according to the Greek manner, 
while, in his left, he holds a roll of the Gospels. The 
Byzantine artist represented St. Peter on the left of 
our Saviour, because among the Greeks, that was 
considered the post of honor. The prince of the 
Apostles wears a silver cloak, and holds two keys, 
the symbols of his power. Valerian and Cecilia 
stand i^ext to him ; the former also wears a silver 
cloak, and holds a crown in his hand ; the Virgin 
has her hair fastened with a band, and her neck 
adorned with a necklace formed of three rows of 
pearls. Her dress and mantle are of gold, and she 
holds a crown composed of two rows of pearls. The 
picture terminates on the left with a palm tree laden 
with fruit. St. Paul stands on the right of our Sa- 
viour, enveloped in a golden mantle, and holding a 
book of the Gospels richly bound. St. Agatha stands 
next, crowned with a diadem, and clothed in a golden 
robe, the beauty of which is enhanced by a rich trim- 
ming of pearls. She rests her right hand upon the 
shoulder of Paschal who wears the antique Chasuble 
and Pallium, and holds in his hands a little edifice 
representing St. Cecilia's Church, in the dedication 
of which he added the name of Agatha to that of the 
Eoman Virgin. The picture on this side also, is 
terminated by a palm tree laden with fruit; a phoe- 
nix stands upon one of the upper-branches of the tree, 
as if to recall the symbolical bird which Cecilia caused 
to be engraven upon the tomb of Maximus. 

On the dower part of the mosaic, the Lamb of God 
is represented with five rivers flowing under his ieet, 


ancient symbols of the vivifying fountains which flow 
from the Bedeemer's wounds. On either side, six 
lambs, representing the Twelve Apostles, advance 
towards the Divine Lamb.* 

The monogram of Paschal is placed at the top of 
the apsis, and on the lower part of this immense pic- 
ture, the inscription in verse, in which he dedicated 
this sumptuous monument of the Byzantine art to St. 
Cecilia. It runs thus : + 


Such were the testimonials of Paschal's devotion 
to St. Cecilia, and such were the ornaments with 
which he enriched her Basilica. In his distribution 
of relics to the different churches, he could not forget 
that of St. Cecilia. Nine hundred bodies of Martyrs 
were placed in her Basilica, as if to form an escort 

* This mosaic may also be seen in Ciampini. Vetera Moni- 
menta page 160. 

f This vast temple, was falling to ruins when Paschal, in his 
munificence, restored it. He placed this temple of God upon the 
richest foundation ; the sanctuary, brilliant with gold, sparkles 
with precious stones. Paschal reunited in this Church the 
bodies of Cecilia and her companions. This family, composed 
of young patricians whose remains were so long concealed in the 
crypts, now reposes here. 


for the glorious Spouse of Christ, and also to increase 
the dignity of her august sanctuary,* 

Paschal was not satisfied with merely restoring the 
dwelling of St. Cecilia ; he also wished to ensure a 
tribute of homage which day and night should ascend 
to heaven from this holy place. He therefore by his 
largesses installed a choir of monks near the church 
to sing the Divine Office. He caused a monastery 
to be built in a place called Colles Jacentes, and en- 
dowed'it with the revenues of a hospital which his 
predecessor, St. Leo III., had founded near St Peter's, 
upon a tract of ground formerly used for aquatic 
games. This hospital had not prospered, and had 
consequently been abandoned. 

After having paid so much honor to the Virgin 
Cecilia, Paschal happily ended his Pontificate which 
is signalized among all others by acts of piety to- 
wards the holy martyrs. The Pontiff had acquitted 
the debt of gratitude which the church owed to those 
who had cemented it with their blood. If the tri- 
umph he reserved for Cecilia, exceeded that of all 
the other martyrs whose relics he translated, it was 
because Paschal, like Urban, felt that there are many 
mansions in the house of the Heavenly Father ;f 
and that the daughter of the Cecilii had heroically 

* Sixtus V. Bref Salvator noster. Laderclii, tome ii. page 410. 
This tradition is open to criticism. It seems at first sight to 
have originated from a text of the Roman Marty rology of tho4th 
of March, where nine hundred Martyrs are mentioned as being 
buried ad Sand am Catriliam, viz., in the cemetery of Cecilia and 
Sixtus. But as Laderclii remarks, Paschal may have trans- 
ferred these martyrs to the church after the Translation of 
Cecilia's body. This would explain every thing. 

\ John xiv., 2. 



ascended to one of those reserved for the most mag- 
nanimous souls. 

Paschal died in the year 824. In the following 
century, Flodoard* a canon of the Church of Eheims, 
and one of the first historians of France, wrote a 
poem commemorating the deeds of the Eoman Pon- 
tiffs. He eulogized the virtues of Paschal; but 
dwelt particularly upon Cecilia's apparition to that 
Pontiff, and described the glorious tomb where she 
reposed in her rich apparel, surrounded by the blood- 
stained evidences of her martyrdom. Thus even the 
churches, in foreign countries, were deeply interested 
in the events which had taken place in Eome, and 

* We will give the passage of Flodoard's poem referring to the 
events we have related 

CcBciliae cernens incumbere casibus aedem 
In meliora levat restructis culmina septis. 
Defessum precibus, queni Caecilia visere Virgo 
Affariquc probat dignum : taraen increpat, nt quid 
Liqnerit incertum quaerendi membra labor em, 
Qua? sublata putat popularis credulus aurae ? 
Ut se res habeat referens, nomenque roganti 
Adnotat, hortaturque piis persistcre coeptis ; 
Gaudeat invento dum munere : nam placet, inquit ; 
JEterno Domino, cujus splendoris amore 
Me passam constat, noviter quo me ipse repertam 
A te constructi templi munimine condas. 
Hie dictis celeri repetit ccelestia saltu. 
Papa revelato lsetus tarn lucis aperte 
Indicio, indagans thesauri celsa talenta 
Reperit, eximiis pretiosa monilia gemmis. 
Aurea virgineum celabant tegmina pignus : 
Carbasa Martyrii rutilabant sanguine clari ; 
Qua? pater almificus manibus pia munera tractans 
Colligit, inducens Urbi instrumenta salutis : 
Atque locat thalamo candentia membra decoro. 
D. Mabillon. Acta SS. Orel. S. Ben. scec. iii. part. ii. p 5S7 


the glory of Cecilia seemed to be appreciated through* 
out Christendom. Whilst Alexander Severus was 
remembered only in the pages of history, the renown 
of the noble young Eoman maiden, who had suffered 
in his reign a cruel death, increased with every suc- 
ceeding age. We will quote the eloquent lines of 
St. John Chrysostom, who, wishing to impress the 
people with an idea of the ever increasing glory of 
the martyrs, contrasts it with that of the Cossars, 
among whom he particularly names Alexander 

" The Eoman Senate," says this eloquent Bishop, 
" decreed the apotheosis of Alexander Severus, and 
made him the thirteenth of their principal gods;* 
for this assembly had the power of creating and de- 
claring gods. If these Pagans are asked : i How can 
Alexander be a god ? Is he not dead ? Did he not 
die a miserable death?' They reply: ' During his 
life, Alexander accomplished many and noble actions. 
He subjugated cities and nations ; he was victorious 
in wars and combats; he erected innumerable tro- 
phies.' I see nothing either new or suprising that 
a man who was at once a king and a great general, 
having under him large armies, should gain vic- 
tories ; but I am filled with astonishment when I find 
that a man, who suffered on the cross and was laid in 
the tomb, daily performs so many miracles both on 
land and sea ; this proves a secret and divine power. 
After the death of Alexander, hi Jfcnpire was divided 

* This remark of St. John Chrysostom is not strictly correct. 
There is no certain proof that the Senate by special decree placed 
Alexander among their gods; but Lampridins expressly says, 
that during Alexander's lire a temple was elected to his honor. 


and annihilated, and yet he did not restore it. What 
could that dead man do? Christ, on the contrary, 
founded an empire, but it was not until after his 
death that he accomplished his work. But why do 
I speak of Christ, when he has granted to his very 
disciples so much glory beyond the tomb ? Tell me, 
where sleeps Alexander's dust? On what day did 
he die? "What I do know is, that the tombs of the 
servants of God are erected with magnificence ; they 
are the ornaments of the royal city ; every one knows 
the day that is consecrated to them ; it is celebrated 
throughout the world. The Gentiles cannot point 
out Alexander's tomb ; they know not where it is. 
The very barbarians know those of the Martyrs. 
The sepulchres of those who served the Crucified, 
surpass the palaces of emperors, not only by their 
extent and beauty, but still more by the concourse 
of people who visit them. Even kings prostrate 
themselves before their tombs, and renouncing their 
pomp, beseech the servants of God to intercede for 
them. The fisherman and the tent maker are both 
dead, and he who now wears the diadem humbly 
implores their protection."* 



Before resuming our history, let us dwell for a 
moment upon the facts contained in the account of 
* In Epist. ii, ad Corinth. Iloniil. xxvi, No. 4, 5. 


the finding of St. Cecilia's body; facts which serve 
to verify our Acts. We have taken them principally 
from Paschal's official document and the contem- 
porary chronicle of Anastasius, both unknown to the 
compiler of the Acts, since he lived three centuries 
before, and his recital had been admitted into the 
Liturgies from the sixth and seventh centuries. 
They were also circulated throughout the Churches 
of the West, at least a century before Paschal's ponti- 
ficate, as we have already seen in the Chronicle of 
Felix IV., the verses of St. Adhelm, and Bede's Mar- 
tyrology. We found in Paschal's document, and in the 
narrative of Anastasius, not only the names of Cecilia 
and Valerian, but also those of Tiburtius and Maxi- 
mus, and it was also stated that these four martyrs 
were first buried upon the Appian Way. Although 
Paschal's recital is so laconic, he mentions that Ce- 
cilia was dressed in a robe of gold and silk. The 
Acts had already given us this information which is 
indeed of secondary importance. Yet its confirmation 
serves to prove the veracity of the compiler. Pas- 
chal does not say that he discovered near the body 
the ampullas filled with blood, which are still found 
in the martyrs' tombs ; but he mentions pieces of 
linen which had been saturated in blood, lying at 
Cecilia's feet. Here is an additional proof of the 
fidelity of our historian who was the first to mention 
this fact. The circumstance of the linen cloths is 
characteristic of the martyrdom of our Saint. They 
prove the staunching of a wound inflicted by a sword ; 
they are not to bo confounded with the sponges used 
to collect the martyr's blood, which was afterwards 



pressed into vases destined to preserve it. The linen 
cloths in Cecilia's tomb were rolled up with great 
care and placed at her feet as a trophy. By their 
mute but eloquent testimony, they recalled the tragic 
scene of the Caldarium. Later we shall see Cecilia's 
tomb again reopened, and then new discoveries will 
give additional proof of the minute accuracy of our 

The circumstances of the discovery of Cecilia's 
body, in 822, also serve to enlighten the critic upon 
the value of the virgin's relics, which several churches 
boasted of possessing, before the pontificate of Pas- 
chal. St. Venantius Fortunatus, in the seventh cen- 
tury, speaks of those which St. Vitalis, Bishop of 
Eavenna, had placed in the Church of St. Andrew.* 
It is very evident that these relics could not have 
been those of our holy martyr, since her tomb was 
not opened until the year 822. Many relics are 
spoken of, after this period, as being those of St. 
Cecilia. Ehaban Maur commemorates in a poem, 
the bones of St. Cecilia, which he declares that he 
placed in his church at Fulda, with those of Sts. 
Valerian and Tiburtius ;f in another place, he men- 
tions nine altars, which he says he enriched with 
her relics4 

A statement of the relics preserved in the Basilica 
of St. Cecilia, at Eome, and which appears to have 
been compiled about the beginning of the twelfth 
centu^, mentions four altars of this same church, as 
containing relics of the glorious patroness; in two 

* Venantii Fortunati Carmima. part i. lib. i. carra. ii. 
f Rhabani Mauri. Opp. tome iv. page 231. 
t Rhabani Mauri. Tome vi., pages 215-221. 


of the altars, the relics were bones.* The treasury 
of the celebrated Church of St. Martin of Tours, 
which was pillaged by the Calvinists, in 1562, con- 
tained a head of St. Cecilia, enclosed in a reliquary 
partly of gold, partly silver gilt, and enriched with 
precious stones.f A second head was kept in the 
church of St. Nicholas des Champs, in Paris ;:{: a 
third in the treasury of the Abbey of St. Lucien de 
Beamais.§ It would be easy to extend this enumer- 
ation, with the assistance of different inventories of 
relics found among the Bollandists and elsewhere ; 
but we cannot pass over in silence, the arm of St. 
Cecilia, and the relics of Sts. Tiburtius, Valerian, 
and Urban, which Paul II. presented in 1346, to 
John Jofroy, Bishop of Alby, who placed them in his 
cathedral.|| All these relics, which we by no means 
intend to stigmatize as pious frauds, could not possi- 
bly belong to the Eoman virgin, whose history we 
are relating. When Cecilia's tomb was opened in 
1599, the body was found entire, just as St. Paschal 
had placed it, under the altar of the trans-Tiberian 
Basilica. Du Saussay, in his Martyrologium Galli- 
canum, frankly acknowledges this, and he thinks 
that the head preserved in the church of St. Nicholas 
in Paris, must have belonged to Cecilia, Abbess of 

It is difficult at first, to explain the mistake made 

* Laderchi. tome ii., pages 11-14 

f Gervaise, Vie de St. Martin., page 426. 

t Du Saussay, Martyrelogiuni Gallicanum, tome ii., page 1231. 

§ Baillet, Vies des Saints, 22 Novembre. 

|| Gallia Christiana, tome i., page 33. 

U Du Saussay. Ibid. 


at Rome, and even in St. Cecilia's church, where, 
from the twelfth century, the) 7 supposed that some 
of the saint's bones were under several of the altars. 
But it is easily accounted for, if we remember that, 
besides the virgin married to Valerian, there were at 
least three other holy martyrs, named Cecilia, two of 
whom suffered in Rome. The first mentioned in the 
Martyrology, attributed to St. Jerome, is marked on 
the 2d of June; the second, on the 16th of Septem- 
ber.- The third Saint Cecilia, suffered martyrdom 
in Africa, during the persecution of Diocletian, .with 
Sts. Saturninus, Dativus, and Felix, who are men- 
tioned in the Roman Martyrology, on the 11th of 
February, f 

In the interval which elapsed between the first 
discovery of Cecilia's body, in 822, and the second, 
which took place eight centuries later, there was no 
certainty as to the condition in which St. Paschal 
had left the body in closing the tomb. It was uni- 
versally the custom to remove some portions of the 
holy relics before sealing the new sepulchre ; J this 
may have given rise to the supposition that the 
sacred bones attributed to Cecilia, belonged to the 
jnost celebrated martyr of that name. This was 

* Florentini. Martyrolog. St. Hieronynii. anj jours iiidiques. 

f See also Doni Ruinart. Acta Sincera page 409. 

% Although iu oldeu times relics were uot often divided, still 
the numerous miracles wrought after the finding of St. Stephen's 
body, did not prevent the precious bones of this martyr being 
dispersed throughout Africa, as St. Augustin attests. At tne 
period in which St. Paschal lived, this practice had become 
still more common, ?nd if the holy Pontiff left Cecilia's body 
entire, as was proved later, it must be attributed %o a special 
osation of Providence. 


firmly believed ; the reopening of the tomb could 
alone solve this great problem and supply the 
records omitted in Paschal's document. The two 
heads preserved in the Churches of St. Martin of 
Tours,*and St. Lucian of Beauvais, may be attributed 
to either of the two Eoman martyrs of whom we 
spoke, or to the one who died in Africa. 

Again, it would be necessary to know whether 
there were two entire heads or simply different parts 
of the same head. Churches frequently glory in 
possessing the body of a saint, when they have only 
a valuable portion of his bones ; it is the same for the 
head, arms, or other principal members, and this mode 
of expression, which is perfectly familiar to all persons 
acquainted with this branch of religious archaeology, 
was already in use in the fourth and fifth centuries.* It, 
is, therefore possible, that the two relics preserved in 
the Churches of St. Martin of Tours and Saint Lucian 
of Beauvais, were but two portions of the same relic, 
under the name of the Head of St. Cecilia. If we 
come now to the relics of Fulda, which Ehaban Maur, 
a contemporary of Paschal, expressly declares to be 
those of the great Eoman Martyr Cecilia, and of Saints 
Tiburtius and Valerian, we have the same reasons to 

* St. Basil, in his homily upon the forty Martyrs (opp. tome 
ii. p. 155) remarks that although the relics of these samts were 
divided among a large number of cities, yet each city was justi- 
fied in considering that it possessed the entire body. The odor et 
is still more explicit : "Although the entire bodies of the mar- 
tyrs arc not in the casket, although these frequently contain but 
a small portion of their bones, still we commonly call these 
relics the bodies of the Martyrs." Epist. cxxx. ad Tiniotheuni. 
Opp. Tom. iv. p. 1218. Halffi. 1771. 


• In 1599, the body of St. Cecilia was found entire; 
hence the error in this case, as in the former one, 
probably resulted from similarity of name. The 
bones, of which Ehaban speaks, must have been those 
of another Cecilia, and must also have been very 
considerable, since he was able to distribute them 
among nine altars of his abbey. 

We find less difficulty in believing that this Church 
possessed some of the bones of Valerian and Tibur- 
tius. It is certain that Saint Paschal, in 822, 
separated the head of Saint Tiburtius from his body, 
and placed it in the Basilica. The bodies of the two 
martyrs were not found, in 1599, in the same state 
of preservation as that of St. Cecilia. It is very 
probable that St. Paschal had distributed some of 
their bones and that Ehaban had received a portion. 

However, we will not be positive, because when 
the tomb was last opened, the bodies of the two 
brothers seemed complete, with the exception of 
Tiburtius' head, and we are rather inclined to believe 
that the relics of Fulda belonged to two other mar- 
tyrs of the same name. A Saint Tiburtius is men- 
tioned in the archives of the Eoman Church, on the 
11th of August, — he is still commemorated in the 
office of that day. A St. Valerian suffered also at 
Eome, with several other Martyrs, about the year 
167 ; and finally the Western Martyrologies have 
preserved the remembrance of several other Sts. 
Valerian and Tiburtius, whose relics may have been 
removed, according to the usual custom, from one 
place to another, and this may have caused confusion. 

We will add a few words respecting the relics of 


St. Cecilia which were preserved in the Church of 
St. Andrew at Kavenna, in the sixth century. At 
this period, and even long after, not only the linen 
which had touched a Saint's tomb, but also that used 
to cover his altar were considered relics ; indeed even 
the oil of the lamps which burned before his body. 
The relics of which St. Venantius Fortunatus speaks, 
must have been of this nature, since for two centuries 
after this bishop's death, Cecilia still reposed in a 
sealed tomb of the Callistus Cemetery. 

We trust the reader will pardon this little digres- 
sion. We considered it absolutely necessary in a 
book, intended to contain every fact relative to our 
holy martyr. They will perhaps thank us for throw- 
ing some light upon the relics honored under her name. 
The solution was very easy in as much as it related 
to our history ; but the matter required to be deli- 
cately handled, since it concerns the honor of churches. 
Too frequently, thoughtless or prejudiced men have 
attributed to fraud, what was the result of an inno- 
cent error proceeding from a similarity of names. 
We frankly acknowledge that it has given us great 
pleasure to proclaim on this occasion a new privilege 
extended to Cecilia even in her tomb. Buried by 
the hands of a martyr Pope, guarded in her sepul- 
chre by the vigilance of the Mother of God, revealed 
to a supreme Pontiff in a heavenly apparition, her 
saintly body was found in a perfect state of preserva- 
tion, surrounded by the eloquent tokens of her mar- 
tyrdom. Paschal left it as he found it, that future 
generations might share the happiness he had en- 
joyed of contemplating the Spouse of Christ, trail 


quill v reposing in her glorious sleep. New wonders 
await us; but let us leave Cecilia, for some centuries 
yet, calmly resting, not beneath the crumbling vaults 
of the Callistus Cemetery, but amidst the splendor 
of her own palace. 



The ninth century, celebrated for the Translation 
of innumerable martyrs from the obscurity of the 
Catacombs to the Churches of Eome, was also re- 
markable for the Martyrologies compiled in various 
countries. Those attributed to St. Jerome and Ven- 
erable Bede, were too incomplete to satisfy the piety 
of the faithful, and the glory of the church im- 
peratively demanded new and fuller details of the 
heroism of her saints. 

About 847, Ehaban Maur published a work in- 
tended as a supplement to the Martyrology of Bede. 
Soun after, (359), St. Ado, Archbishop of Vienna, 
followed Ehaban in the same career, and in 876, 
Usuard, a monk of St. Germain des Pres, published 
a Martyrology, at the request of Charles the Bald. 
This being more correct than those of his predeces- 
sors, he has the honor of having prepared the vener- 
able text which the Apostolic See, after having sub- 
mitted it to the learned Baronius, presented to the 
universal Church under the name of the Eoman 


Martyrology. Such was the Catholic enthusiasm in 
this matter, in the ninth century, that even in the 
year 850, Wandelbert, a monk of Prum, opened, by 
a martyrology in verse, the magnificent series of 
poems for every day of the Ecclesiastical year, which 
comes down to the seventeenth century. 

All these Martyrologists speak of St. Cecilia with 
considerable detail ; but no one developes the subject 
so clearly as St. Ado, who seems to have wished to 
give an abridgement of her Acts. The approbation 
of so many men, versed in the study of sacred monu- 
ments, gives additional authority to this document, 
handed down with so much respect from the fifth 
century. The authors of the martyrologies of the 
ninth century, may have made some errors here 
and there; but it would be a serious literary injus- 
tice not to recognize as a confirmatory argument, 
their unanimous opinion, concerning the value of an 
historical document; particularly when this docu- 
ment had been considered authentic in preceding 
ages. Men, influenced by undue partiality, may 
affect to despise the testimony of Ado and Usuard, 
but we can produce in favor of these learned men, 
considered simply as critics, the testimony of Dom 
Euinart and of Bossuet, neither of whom can be 
accused of too blind admiration for the legendaries 
of the middle age.* 

* Dom Ruinart, in his History of the Persecution of the Van- 
dals, wishing to prove the antiquity and authenticity of the 
Acts of the holy Martyrs, Liboratus and his companions, oitefl 
in full the notice given by the Martyrologists of the ninth oen- 
. tury, and thus expresses his confidence in them : u Haec fusins 
referre visum est, prout in illis authoribus habentnr, ut alarum 
sit jam nono saeculo persuasum fuisse viria Historic sacra stu- 



The successors of Paschal inherited his interest 
in the Basilica which he had restored with so much 
splendor, and adorned with such precious treasures. 

In 827, Gregory IV. presented to the Altar of St. 
Cecilia, a fabric of velvet embroidered with eagles 
and griffins, and fringed with purple and gold.* 

In the ninth century, devotion to St. Cecilia began 
to spread throughout the Churches of the East, where 
her name had not hitherto been inscribed on the list 
of Saints ; later, the West accepted in return into her 
Calends the illustrious virgins Catherine, Barbara, 
and Margaret. The discovery of Cecilia's body not 
only filled the Latin Church with joy, but spread her 
fame in countries where she was comparatively un- 
known. A Greek version of her Acts appeared in 
Constantinople towards the end of the same century. 
Its translator was the famous holy writer Simon 
.Metaphrastes, Chancellor of the Emperor Leo VI., 
the philosopher, who reigned from 886 to 911. "We 
do not undertake the task of defending this pious and 
celebrated personage from the accusations made against 

diosis, Victorem nostrum hujus sanctorum monachorum Pas- 
sionis authorem fuisse." (Historia persecutionis Vandalicce, page 
97, n° 3.) 

Bossuet in la Defense de la Declaration, citing, in support of 
his Thesis, (the responsibility of which we are far from assum- 
ing) a passage from the Acts of St. Eusebius, a priest of Rome, 
thus declares his favorable opinion of these Acts ; Hactenus 
Acta, ubi innata simplicitate ipsa se prodit antiquitatis, et quibus 
ejus generis Actorum aliquis inest gustus, hoc sapient. Turn 
Usuardus monachus, et Ado Viennensis hcec Acta viderunt ; ex quo- 
rum qurppe verbis brevem illam quam suis Martyrologiis inse- 
runt, sancti Eusebii contexunt historiam." Defensio cleri Gal* 
licani, part ii, lib. xv, cap. xxxiv. 

* Anastas in Gregor. IV. 


him, but we do certify that Metaphrastes translated 
with scrupulous fidelity the Eoman manuscript of the 
Acts of St. Cecilia. It is easy to compare his trans- 
lation with the original, and we have done so with 
much pleasure, as it has enabled us to justify this 
laborious writer whose services have been hitherto 
repaid with ingratitude. 

The Greek Menology, which corresponds to the 
Latin Martyrology, was definitively compiled towards 
the close of the tenth century. All the amateurs of 
antique liturgies are well acquainted with the cele- 
brated manuscript of this book, compiled by order 
of the Emper^ Basil Porphyrogenetes, who ascended 
the Byzantine throne in 976. This Menology, 
which was published at Urbino 1727, with curious 
vignettes of the first six months, from September 
to February, contains a notice of St. Cecilia on 
the 24th of November, in the style of the "West- 
ern Martyr ologies. To avoid repetition we will 
not transcribe the passage. We merely wished to 
mention this first notice of the martyr in the Greek 
liturgy. The Church of Constantinople, then still 
united to the Apostolic See, was not satisfied with 
this purely historical homage rendered to St. Cecilia. 
At this time, was completed that part of the Greek 
Liturgy which corresponds to our Proper Masses of 
the Saints ; they were compiled by the most pious 
and skilful among the Greek writers of sacred verses. 
The following are some of the stanzas dedicated to the 
Eoman virgin: 

" Cecilia, worthy of all praise ! thou hast preserved 
thy body from all stain, and thy heart from sensual 
love ! Thou hast presented thyself to thy Creator aa 


an immaculate Spouse, whose happiness was con- 
summated by martyrdom ; He received thee as a spot- 
less virgin, and owned thee as His Spouse ! 

11 The Lord, in his wisdom, vouchsafed to crown 
thy brow with the fragrance of roses, O holy virgin ! 
Thou wert the link which united two brothers in the 
same happiness, and thy prayers assisted them. 

11 Abandoning the impure worship of idols, they 
proved themselves worthy of the mercy of Him who 
was born of a Virgin, and who permitted His blood 
to be poured out for us like a precious perfume. 

" In thy desire for the treasures of heaven, thou 
didst despise the riches of earth ; disdaining the love 
of mortals, thou didst chose a place among the choir 
of virgins, and thy wisdom guided thee to the hea- 
venly Spouse. 

" Thou didst valiantly combat and trample under 
foot the malice of the demon, 0, thou honor of the 
Athletes of Christ I 

" Glorious Cecilia, august martyr ! thou art the 
holy temple of Christ, His noble dwelling, His pure 
abode. Deign to intercede for us who celebrate thy 

11 Eavished with the beauty of Christ, strengthened 
by His love, sighing after His joys, thou didst die to 
the world, and wert found worthy of eternal life. 

11 A spiritual love made thee disdain the affections 
of earth ; thy discourse, replenished with wisdom, 
inflamed the heart of thy Spouse with the love of 
holy virginity ; thou art now united with Him in 
the choirs of angels. 0, martyr, worthy of heaven's 
reward ! 


" An angelof light was ever by thy side, surrounding 
thee with divine splendor; His arm guarded thy purity, 
and kept thee ever chaste and pleasing to Christ. 

" Thou, 0, Valerian, didst desire baptism ; an envoy 
from heaven appeared ; he enlightened thy mind, de- 
claring to thee the sacred oracles ; he enrolled thy name 
among the heavenly choir, whilst thou wert yet com- 
bating on earth." 

11 Thou, 0, Tiburtius ! quitting the path of error, 
didst gain the knowledge of heavenly things ; de- 
spising this perishable life, thou didst eagerly hasten 
to immortality ; believing in the adorable Trinity 
with thy whole soul, thou hast combated as a valiant 
warrior ! O, Cecilia ! the desire of possessing God, 
and His holy love, burned in thy inmost soul, and 
consumed thy entire being ; thou wert an angel in a 
mortal frame. With intrepid courage thou didst 
bare thy neck to the sword ; thy blood consecrated 
the ground which received it, and thy soul sanctified 
the air in its flight to heaven. 

"The three children changed the flames of the 
fiery furnace into dew, and thou, Cecilia, by the vir- 
tue of the baptismal waters, sang, like them, in the 
midst of seething vapors: ' Be thou blessed, O-God 
of my fathers!' Thou art the enclosed garden, the 
sealed fountain, the veiled loveliness, the glorious 
Spouse adorned with a brilliant diadem, the bloom- 
ing paradise of the Heavenly King, 0, Cecilia, re- 
plenished with God I" 




The eleventh, one of the greatest of Christian 
centuries, owes its principal glory to Saint Gregory 
VII. This Pontiff' could not fail to venerate the 
generous virgin, who had won the admiration of 
Urban, in the heroic days of faith. Gregory, the 
martyr of Christian liberty, whose energetic and 
tender soul showed its power in the struggle against 
the Empire, at the same time that it poured forth its 
sweetness in his letters to the pious Countess Matilda, 
was devoted to Cecilia's glory, and humbly solicited 
her patronage. He renewed the altar of the trans- 
Tiberian Basilica, embellished it with a silver statue 
of the saint, and solemnly dedicated it in 1075, the 
third year of his Pontificate. The inscription which 
recalls this event, was placed in the crypt, where it 
was seen in the thirteenth century, when the altar 
was renewed. It is thus conceived : 


When this giant of the Lord had finished his course, 
and traced out a path for his successors, he expired 
at Salerno, pronouncing these forcible words, which 
will re-echo throughout ages : "I have loved justice 
and hated iniquity ; therefore do I die an exile.'' 
His death occurred on the twenty-fifth of May, feast 


of St. Urban; hence the names of these two great* 
Pontiffs were united in the Christian calendar, as 
they had been in their reverence for Cecilia. This 
holy martyr assisted the Eoman Church in the 
eleventh century, with even more power than in the 
days of Almachius.* 

At this period, the different altars of the Basilica 
were rebuilt and consecrated anew, and the Cardinal 
Bishops were so eager to obtain the favor of the 
Spouse of Christ, that they would not permit any 
other prelates to dedicate them. We find from an 
ancient deed, preserved in the archives of the Basilica, 
that the altar of our Saviour, situated to the left of 
that of the Confession, was dedicated on the 22d of 
May, 1060, by Humbert, Bishop of St. Eufine, the 
same who was so zealous for the interests of the 
Apostolic See, when sent as legate to Constantinople, 
at the time when Byzantium was preparing to con- 
summate her schism. This same bishop was also sent 
on a mission to France, where, by his zeal, he crushed 
the heresy of Berengarius. 

John, Bishop of Porto, who exerted so much in- 

* This blending of the names of Sts. Urban and Gregory VII. 
on the 25th of May, was remarked in the eleventh century by 
the contemporary biographer of the latter Pontiff, and we can- 
not resist the pleasure of citing his eloquent remarks upon the 
heroic death of Gregory : 

Itaque septiformi gratia plenus Septimi Gregorii spiritus, qui 
mundum et principes ejus arguebat de peccato, et de injustitia 
et de judicio, in fortitudine ccolestis cibi nuper accepti, ccolestem 
viam arripiens, meritoque divini zeli, velut igneo curru instar 
Elise subvectus, Urbani prcedecessoris sui cujus ea die festivitOB 
txtitit, omniumque beatorum loctitiam in coelesti gloria cum 
Christo gaudentium excellenter ampliavit. Paulus Bernrieden 
S. Gregorii V1J. vita, Cap. xii. Ada SS. Maiu Tome vi. page 102, 


fluence in the election of Gregory VII., to whom he 
remained inviolably faithful, consecrated on the 25th 
of May, 1071, the altar of the Blessed Virgin ; and, 
on the 3d, of January, 1072, that of St. John, ad 

As we before stated, the bath room in which 
Cecilia suffered martyrdom, had been transformed 
into a chapel ; Ubald, Bishop of Sabine, dedicated 
its altar on the 17th of September, 1073.* Finally, 
the altar of St. Mammes, situated to the left of the 
grand altar, was consecrated on the 24th of February, 
1098, under the pontificate of Urban II. by Maurice, 
Bishop of Porto. f 

Thus, in the latter part of the eleventh century, 
the Basilica of St. Cecilia seemed to share in the 
universal renovation, which was felt throughout the 
whole Church of Jesus Christ. 

Before his death, Gregory VII. had designated as 
his successor, Didier, the Abbot of Mont Cassin, 
Titulary Cardinal of St. Cecilia's church. After a 
determined refusal of nine months, the humble 
monk finally yielded, and, under the name of Victor 
III. assumed the government of the Church. He 
directed it with great success for eighteen months, 
when he was called to receive the reward of the elect. 
The trans-Tiberian Basilica counted in him the third 
Pontiff she had given to the universal church. 

The twelfth century offers us some graceful stanzas 

in honor of St. Cecilia, found in a long sequence upon 

Christian virginity, attributed to the venerable 

* Altare Sanctse Ceciliae, quod est in Balneo ejus. 
t See in Laderchi, Vol ii, page 10-15, thfl deed which relates 
to the dedication of these altars. 


Aelred, a Cistercian monk of the Abbey of Kieval, 
in England.* She is also mentioned with praise in 
a discourse of the learned and pious Honorius 
of Autun. We find in the three following centuries, 
innumerable sermons in honor of this glorious mar- 
tyr, written by the most talented men of the middle 
age. William of Paris, Albert the Great, St. Thomas 
of Aquin, St. Bonaventure, St. Vincent Ferrier, are 
among the panegyrists of St. Cecilia. We regret 
that the style of these authors is too dry to admit of 

* Istos nores virtutis geminae, 
Transplant avit in mente virgine 
Filius hominis. 

Quos diversos facit nativitas, 
Non disjungit nlla diversitas 
In caput Virginis. 

Rosa floris cornscat libere, 
Flos lilii non minus prospere 
Candet interius. 

Quos attulit Sanctae Caeciliae, 
De secreto divinae patriae 
Coelestis nuncius. 

Ne flagraret carnis concubitu, 
Conflagrata divino spiritu 
Caro puellulae. 

Nee timeret ensem sanguineum 
Vel catastae stridorem ferreum 
Corpus juvenculae. 

Mancipata divino cultui, 
Consecravit Sancto Spiritui 
Suum conjugium. 

Spiritali rore refrigerans 
JEstus carnis, mundique temperans 
Onine ludibrium. 
Biblioth, vett Patrum, tome xxiii, page 168- 


our citing any passages from their sermons, which 
are rather scholastic than oratorical. They are, how- 
ever, precious links in the uninterrupted chain of 
homage paid to the memory of the generous mar- 
tyr throughout the course of ages. 

Many other historians of this period were equally 
eager to celebrate Cecilia's merits ; Vincent de Beau- 
vaisinhis " Historical Mirror " Jacques DeVoragine 
in his Golden Legend, Peter De Natalibus in his Lives 
of the Saints, and finally Saint Antoninus, in his 
Chronicle, are distinguished among others for the 
accuracy with which they have adhered to the sub- 
stance of the primitive Acts. The Church at this 
time shone with the virtues and prodigies of the 
Saints who illustrated the last three centuries of the 
Middle Age. Cecilia's name was dear to all the friends 
of God, and this glorious Spouse of Christ frequently 
rewarded their love by appearing to them. St. Domi- 
nic saw the Mother of God enter the dormitory of his 
disciples, accompanied by Cecilia.* The Queen of 
Angels appeared to the Blessed Eeginald, to reveal to 
him his vocation to the order of Friar Preachers and 
on that occasion also was attended by Cecilia.f Some 
of the brightest spirits of heaven were sent to console 
St. Peter of Verona with pious colloquies, and the 
future martyr was likewise favored with a vision 
of St. Cecilia resplendent with glory, and accom- 
panied by Agnes and Catherine.^ 

The Blessed Oringa, a Florentine virgin, avoided 
without effort all the dangers which threatened her 

*-Acta SS. Augusti, vol. i. 

f Theodorio de Appoldia. lib. ii. cap. xiii. 

t Acta SS. Aprilis, tome iii. 


chastity, and the infernal spirits being interrogated 
by a libertine, who was tired of soliciting her in vain, 
replied, that the servant of God was under the guar- 
dianship of the same Angel who had protected the 
virginity of Cecilia. St. Frances, the Eoman pro- 
phetess of the fifteenth century, before founding her 
celebrated monastery of Turrem Speculorum, had 
chosen for her favorite resort the Church of St. 
Cecilia, which was not far from the palace Ponziani 
where she dwelt. She loved to partake of the holy 
mysteries near the Virgin's tomb ; where often, rapt 
in ecstacy, she heard and saw the mysteries of hea- 
ven. There also she buried her two children, whom 
the Lord called to Himself in their infancy — Evange- 
list, in his 9th year, and Agnes not yet five.* France 
also joined in the homages which were universally 
rendered to Cecilia. Bernard of Chatenet, Bishop 
of Alby, on the 15th of August, 1282, laid the 
corner stone of his magnificent Cathedral, one of the 
most astonishing specimens of the ogive architecture 
in France, and the most imposing of all the monu- 
ments erected in Cecilia's honor. The work was 
carried on by the Bishops, Berald de Fargues, 

* Acta SS. Martii tome ii. We regret that it is impossible 
to insert among the communications which the servants of God 
have had with St. Cecilia, several admirable incidents of the life 
of the Venerable Mother Agnes of Jesus, prioress of the Domi- 
nican convent at Langeac. This great Saint professed a special 
devotion to our martyr, and was frequently honored by her 
visits. The interviews which took place between the glorified 
and the militant Virgin, may be found in full in La vie de la 
Mere Agnes de Jesus par l'Abbe de Lantages pages 230, 608, 611. 
We shall find in these interviews all the strength and tender- 
ness so admirably depicted in the Acts ol" the Itoiuan Virgin. 


Jean de Sayo, Guillaume de la Voulte, and, finally, 
Louis d'Amboise who dedicated it on the 23d of 
April, 1480 ; it was not, however, entirely completed 
until 1512, wlien Charles de Eobertet was bishop of 
Alby. Built of brick which has become blackened 
by time, terminated at the western extremity by an 
immense tower which rests on four galleries and 
rises four hundred feet above the waters of the Tarn, 
the Church of St. Cecilia d'Alby, with its severe 
aspect, and walls one hundred and fifteen feet in 
height, looks more like a formidable fortress, than a 
temple consecrated to the Virgin whose name it bears. 
But the interior of this noble building is such as 
befits the sanctuary of the Queen of Harmony. Its 
vast nave, destitute of columns, rearing its vaulted 
roof ninety-two feet above the pavement, and sur- 
rounded by twenty-nine chapels, presents an animated 
appearance, not only on account of the graceful and 
yet imposing effect of its domes and arches, but also 
from the admirable blending of statuary and painting. 
This Church is deservedly considered the most com- 
plete in all its parts, of any, this side of the Alps. 

In an architectural point of view, we cannot suffi- 
ciently admire the marvellous art with which the 
progressive developments of the ogival style are 
blended. All is correct ; no violent transition offends 
the eye, or disturbs the graceful effect of the united 
whole. The choir corresponds with the rest of the 
edifice. Louis d'Amboise placed opposite to one of 
the side doors, the effigy of Constantine, and oppo- 
site to the other, that of Charlemagne. The interior 
is adorned with a prodigious number of graceful and 


elegant statues, placed in fanciful stone niches. 
That nothing may be wanting to this sublime Cathe- 
dral, the whole edifice is covered with paintings. 
Scenes from the Old and New Testament and from 
the Lives of the Saints, the History of the Church, 
the Last Judgment and the torments of hell, cover 
the pilasters, the walls, and the small chapels. The 
rich azure of the vaulted ceiling is also resplendant 
with brilliant and graceful designs, a harmonious 
profusion of fanciful arabesques, ornaments of the 
acanthus, escutcheons, and medallions, sparkling 
with gold, which is as fresh as the ultramarine 
ground work that relieves the whole. Such, in a 
few words, is a description of the superb sanctuary 
which the piety of France has dedicated to Cecilia, but 
the veneration of the French people towards the heroic 
virgin, was manifested even in Eome. Guillame de 
Bois-Eatier, Archbishop of Bourges, in his zeal for 
Cecilia's glory, descended into the crypts of the 
Appian Way, and finding that the tomb which, for 
six centuries, had preserved her body, was unorna- 
mented, he caused the empty sepulchre of the great 
martyr to be embellished at his own expense.* The 
monument which he erected has been destroyed ; 
but the inscription which may still be seen, bears 
the following words : 




* Labbe. Biblioth. MSS. t tome ii. page 130. 




More than once, French Cardinals presided as 
Titularies, in the marble pulpit which was erected 
in the centre of the apsis of the Church, so proud 
of containing the relics of its noble patroness. The 
most illustrious of all was u.n questionably Simon de 
Brie, who was created Cardinal by Urban IV., in 
1262, and placed upon the Apostolic Chair under 
the name of Martin IV., in 1281. He was the 
fourth Pope appointed from the Church of Saint 
Cecilia. This Pontiff, who governed Christendom 
with honor during the short space of four years, 
presented two donations to the Basilica as a proof 
of his devotion. The first was a silver statue, 
adorned with precious stones ;f the second, a much 
more valuable gift, was the promotion of John 
Cholet, Bishop of Beauvais, to the Cardinalate with 
the Title of Presbyter of St. Cecilia's church. This 
prelate was very successful in important legations 
to France and Arragon ; he also founded in Paris 
the college which for a long time bore his name.J 

In 1283, he rebuilt with magnificence the Altar 
of the Confession, which had been consecrated by 
Gregory VII. two centuries previously. With the 

* Here formerly reposed the body of the Blessed Cecilia, Vir- 
gin and Martyr. This monument was erected by order of Wil- 
liam, Archbishop of Bourges, the year of onr Lord 1409. 

f Ciaccouius. Vitce et res gestie Pontificum Romanorum et S. R< 
E. Cardinallum, tome ii, page 238. 

% Ibid, page 239. 


exception of some embellishments made in the seven- 
teenth century, of which we shall speak later, the 
altar is the same used at the present day. The in- 
scription engraven upon it by the architect of John 
Cholet in the thirteenth century, runs thus: 


Vasari thinks that the Arnulphe above mentiotied 
is the celebrated ornamental painter Arnolfo di 
Lapo. The altar is ornamented with a rich mosaic 
upon a slab of that beautiful violet-colored marble 
called paonazzeito. Arnolfo's work is completed by 
a ciborium formed of four columns of black marble, 
spotted with white, called by the Italians preconesio. 

Under Clement V., in 1312, the Church of St. Ce- 
cilia was again confided to a French Cardinal, Gruil- 
laume Godin, of the order of Friar Preachers, who 
at a later period was appointed Bishop of Sabine.* 
Clement VI., in 1342, entrusted it to Guy of Bou- 
logne, Archbishop of Lyons, who resigned that See in 
the same year, and became Bishop of Porto.f In 
the following century, in 1426, Martin V. bestowed 
the title of St. Cecilia upon the last French bishop, 
whose name was placed among the Beatified. This 
was Louis d'Alleman, Archbishop of Aries, famous 
for hostility to the Holy See in the conventicle of 
Basle, but more happily celebrated for the generous 
confession of his fault, at the feet of Nicholas V.J who 
restored to him the title of which Eugene IV. had 

* Ciaoconius, tome ii., pago 384. 

f Ibid., page 403. Gallia Christiana, tome iv., p. 105. 

J Ibid., pa^o 841. 


deprived him. Louis d'AUeman was succeeded in 
the Church of Saint Cecilia by another French pre- 
late, who had followed him in the path of error, and 
who had also imitated the sincerity of lr.s repentance, 
Louis 'de la Palu, whose public career commenced 
with the council of Constance. He had been created 
cardinal by Nicholas V., in 1449. In the sixteenth 
century there were many French cardinals who held 
the Church of St. Cecilia. The first was Gabriel de 
Grandmont, Bishop of Tarbes, who was promoted to 
the purple by Clement VII. He died in 1534, after 
having occupied the Sees of Poitiers, Bordeaux, and 
Toulouse. The next, under Paul III., was John of 
Bellay, Bishop of Paris, who governed at the same 
time the Churches of Limoges, Mans, and afterwards 
Bordeaux ; he was but a short time titulary of the 
Church of St. Cecilia. In 1560, he died, Bishop of 
Ostia* Eobert de Lenoncourt, Bishop of Chalons- 
sur-Marne, created cardinal by Paul III., obtained in 
his turn the title of St. Cecilia.f This prelate, who, 
according to a still prevailing abuse, possessed at the 
same time several bishoprics, is the same who erected 
in the Church attached to the Abbey of Eheims, the 
magnificent tomb of the Apostle of the French. 
Finally, the last French cardinal, who held the title 
of St. Cecilia, was Charles de Guise of the house of 
Lorraine, Archbishop of Eheims, who received the 
cardinal's hat in 1547. Like the two preceding, he 
was promoted to this dignity by Paul III4 The in- 

* Ciaccoilrus, tome iii., page 568. 
t Ibid., page 646. 
X I bid. , page 724. 


. fluence of this prelate in the general affairs of the 
Church, more especially at the Council of Trent, is 
well known. 

We cannot conclude this chapter without mention- 
ing an illustrious cardinal who held the title of St. 
Cecilia in the fourteenth century. He does not indeed 
belong to France, like those we have just mentioned, 
being an Englishman and a Benedictine; but his 
literary fame sheds a glory over his country and his 
order. Adam Eston, a professed friar of the Abbey 
of Norwich, was the most accomplished hebraist of 
his time, and the catalogue of his writings would 
alone be sufficient to place him at the head of the 
learned men of Lis age. Urban VI. rewarded such 
exalted merit with the honors of the purple, Eston's 
career was, nevertheless, a stormy one, and from the 
time of his elevation to the cardinalate, he knew no 
repose until the day when, having yielded his soul 
to God, his mortal remains were deposited in the 
Basilica of St. Cecilia. The following epitaph was 
placed upon his tomb : 





* Ciacconius. Ibid., tome ii., page 649. Ziegelbauer, Hist, 
rci litter ar. 0. S. B., tome iii., p. 185 et seq. 





In the year 1484, the Bacilica of St. Cecilia gave 
a fifth Pope to the Church, John Baptist Cibo, under 
the name of Innocent VIII * A short time after his 
exaltation, he invested Lawrence Cibo, his nephew, 
with the purple, giving him at first the title of St. 
Susanna, which he afterwards changed for that of 
St. Cecilia. This cardinal was very munificent in 
his donations to the Basilica. He restored the inner 
porch, renewed the chapel of the bathroom, where 
his coat of arms may still be seen; but he respected 
the altar and pavement of this venerable sanctuary, 
and these preserve their mediaeval character. 

Numerous modifications successively made in this 
chapel, had entirely destroyed its primitive charac- 
ter. Pompey Ugonius, who wrote in 1588, declares 
that in his time this sacred place was called the Thal- 
amus or Oratorium of St. Cecilia, and that there were 
old men who remembered having venerated in their 
youth the bathroom, in which the holy virgin suffered 
martvrdom ; but he adds, that all traces of this room 
had disappeared, either because it had not been con- 

* Among the gifts presented by the Cardinal J. B. Cibo to this 
Basilica, was an immense bell which he placed in the chapel, 
although it already contained three of smaller dimensions, dating 
back to the year 1311 : MSS. Vatican, de Gallctti. 8025 Santa 
Cecilia, tome i. 


sidered a monument of much, importance, or from 
some other reason. 

In the eleventh century, tradition expressly de- 
clared that Cecilia's bathroom was in this place, and 
that Cardinal Ubaldus, Bishop of Sabine, had dedi- 
cated an altar there in 1073. Before long all un- 
certainty will cease, and we shall see this holy place, 
such as it appeared on the day of Cecilia's martyr- 
dom, thus restoring to her dwelling its most import- 
ant apartment to which are linked the most sacred 

The monks of the monastery, which St. Paschal 
built near the Basilica of St. Cecilia, did not persevere 
in the practice of the Benedictine Eules, and the 
building, like many others, was finally changed into 
a collegiate church. Thenceforth Divine service was 
not celebrated with the same zeal at Cecilia's tomb. 
In 1417, Martin V. gave the Church and monastery 
to the congregation of the Saviour, founded by St. 
Bridget ;* but these religious did not long retain 
possession of it, and before the end of the fifteenth 
century the Benedictines were once more established 
at Sancta Cecilia, f 

The Lombard congregation of the Humiliati, a 
branch of the Benedictines, were installed in the 
monastery after the departure of the Brigittines ; but 
from the beginning of the sixteenth century, the con- 
gregation became so reduced that their number was 

* Ciacconius, tome ii., page 825. 

f This is proved by a sepulchral inscription, found in the 
Basilica, which dates hack to the year 1475, and certifies that 
from that time the Church and monastery were in the hands of 
the Humiliati. 


not sufficiently large to take charge of the monasteries 
placed under their care. Clement VII. concluded to 
make it a commendatory benifice, and, in 1532, con- 
ferred it upon Cardinal Franciotto Orsini.* This 
venerable sanctuary had been so sadly neglected 
during these disastrous years, that it was barely pos- 
sible to celebrate the Divine office in it on the feast 
of St. Cecilia, and on the day of the station which 
was solemnized each year in this Basilica on the 
Wednesday of the second week of Lent. It seemed 
God's will to send these dark clouds as a prelude to 
the incomparable splendor which was destined in 
1527 to illuminate this Basilica and restore the glory 
which had suffered a momentary eclipse. 

At the time when the commendary seemed about 
to destroy Paschal's pious foundation, the Lord 
inspired one of his servants with a design which 
saved it. Maura Magalotta, the pious abbess of the 
Benedictines of the Campus Martius, urged Clem- 
ent VII. to allow her the privilege of going to dwell 
with those of her sisters who wished to accompany 
her in the monastery of St. Cecilia, and that she 
might not interfere with the congregation of the Hu- 
miliati, to whom the house was supposed to belong, 
she offered to adopt their Constitutions. 

The Pope was both edified and pleased with the 
proposition of the abbess; but he could not grant 
her request without the consent of the Titulary Car- 
dinal. This Franciotto Orsini generously gave, and 
in honor of St. Cecilia resigned the rich benifice 
which had been bestowed upon him four yea^s pre 
* Laderchi, tome ii., page 284. 


viously. Clement VII. had at this time retired to 
the Castle of St. Angelo, where he was besieged by 
the Constable de Bourbon. From this fortress he 
dated the Bull which ensured the permanent cele- 
bration of the Divine office in the Basilica, accord- 
ing to St. Paschal's intentions. The Bull was dated 
the seventh of the Calends of July, in Arce Sancti 
Angeli; it authorized the removal of Mother Maura 
Magalotta to the monastery of St. Cecilia, creating her 
abbess of the congregation of the Humiliati, under 
the rule of St. Benedict.* 

It is well known that this order was suppressed 
by St. Pius V. in 1575, in punishment of an attempt 
made by one of its members at Milan to assassinate 
St. Charles Borromeo ; but the Pontiff, far from ex- 
tending this chastisement to the monastery of St. 
Cecilia, which was flourishing with so much edifica- 
cation, took it under his special protection, and en- 
riched it with new privileges. Later, the female con- 
gregation of the Humiliati having become extinct, the 
Benedictines of the Campus Martius were called 
upon to take charge of the monastery. In memory 
of their sisters, who had been established here by 
Clement VII., the nuns of St. Cecilia wear the white 
habit formerly worn by the Humiliati. 

Maura Magalotta devoted herself with zeal to the 
reparation of her dear Basilica, which was somewhat 
dilapidated, and made important improvements in 
the monastery, the enclosure of which she enlarged. 
An inscription placed over the principal door of this 

* Laderchi, tome ii., page 313. 


holy house records the services of the worthy abbess,* 
who died on the 17th of May, 1566, aged seventy- 
two years. She was buried in the Basilica, before 
the altar of the Confession, by Mother Scholastica 
Serleoni, who succeeded her.f 

In 1584, under Gregory XIII., two altars were 
re-dedicatecl in St. Cecilia's Church. One of the two 
had borne the title of St. Mammes, and had been 
consecrated in 1098, as we before stated, by Maurice, 
Bishop of Porto, under Urban II. It was now des- 
tined to be the altar of the blessed sacrament, and 
was dedicated on the 7th of August, by Thomas 
Goldwell, Bishop of St. Asaph.;}; The relics which 
had served for the first consecration, in 1098, were 
again placed in the altar. Among these relics, 
were found some bones attributed to St. Cecilia ; 
we have already spoken of them, but the moment 
was now approaching, when it was to be fully proved 
that they could not have belonged to our martyr. 

In the preceding } r ear, Gregory XIII. had given 
the purple to Nicholas Sfondrato, Bishop of Cre- 

* Maura Magalotta Abbatissa, a Clemente VII., et Franciotto 
cardinali Orsino praeposito hue accita, sedem banc divae Caecilise 
sacram, quam monachi Humiliatorum S. Benedicti obtinebant. 
in pnesentis nionasterii, ejusdem ordinis monialium formani 
redegit, eainque pene collabentem restituit, adjectis insuper 
hortis, quorum etiam ut honestior usus esset, claustrali eos 
muro cinxit, anno a partu Virginis mdxxxi. 

f D. 0. M. Maura Magalotta, per triennium Abbatissa raonas- 
terii Canrpi Martii, deinde a Clemente VII., Pont. Max. Abbatissa 
perpetua monasterii Sanctae Caecilise creata, quae instituit, in- 
stauravit etdotavit. Obiit anno Dni mdlxvi. xvi. Kal. Junii, vitse 
suae an. lxxii. Scolastica Serleoni Rom. Abbatissa, et suffecta 

t Ladercbi, tome ii. pages 340 and 406. 


mona. This Prelate, who was of an illustrious 
Milanese family, and of distinguished piety, received 
the Title of St. Cecilia, and seven years after was 
elected to the chair of St. Peter. He took the name 
of Gregory XIV. and was the seventh Pope from the 
Basilica of St. Cecilia. After ten months of a brilli- 
ant Pontificate, he died, but fortunately not before 
he had elevated to the Cardinalate, his nephew, Paul 
Emile Sfondrato, whose name is held in veneration 
by all who are interested in the glory of our illustri- 
ous virgin. 

But before relating the great event which heaven 
seemed to have held in reserve, only to throw more 
vivid light upon the Acts of St. Cecilia, and to re- 
animate the enthusiasm of the faithful towards this 
Spouse of Christ, we will devote some pages to 
recording the homage paid her by literature and the 
arts. We have already listened to the harmonious 
cadence of the Sacramentaries, the musical hymns 
of the Mozarabic rite of Christian Greece, the epi- 
thalamium of the Saxon Bishop, the uncultivated 
verses of Flodoard, the flowing sequence of the 
twelfth century ; all these have formed a poetical 
concert to Cecilia's glory. The pious Thomas A. 
Kempis now offers his tribute of veneration to the 
Roman virgin, in a most devotional hymn, and a 
charming acrostic* 

* En virginis Cseciliae Hinc amor et dcvotio, 

Fulget vita clarissima, Fervebat cum eloquio. 

Quam sponsus pudicitise Hinc diebus ac noctibus 

Elegit ab infantia. Sacris intendit fructibus. 

Quae Christi Evangelium Nam duos fratres nobiles 
Abscondebat in pectoro ; Christi offecit milites, 

Ut Jesum nitons lilium Quos per ejus vestigium 

Gasto servaret corpora. Hortatur ad Martyr in in. 


He is soon followed by the celebrated Latin poet, 
Baptista Spagnuolo, called the Mantuan, who conse- 
crated to Cecilia his seventh Parthenia, dedicated to 
Isabella, Duchess of Mantua. This poem of nine 
hundred verses, filled with profane reminiscences, 
like all the compositions of the Mantuan, is written 
in the pagan style of the period in which its author 
lived; it nevertheless contains many graceful and 
easy verses. 

We will not extend this list of the compositions 
which form the poetical crown of Cecilia, but we 
cannot pass over in silence the Epithalamium of 
Angelo Sangrini, Abbot of Monte Casino, in which 
the author extols the holy martyr, whom Italy par- 
ticularly venerated in the sixteenth century. This 
century, which gave to the Church the Annals of 
Baronius, and the Controversies of Bellarmine, had 
also the glory of collecting the Acts of the Saints, 
thus preluding the immortal compilation of the 
lesuits of Anvers. The different collections of this 

Hsec cernens tunc Episcopus Beata Csecilia, 

Urbanus vir Angelicus, Devota Christi famula 

Resolvitur in lacrymis Per tua sacra merita, 

De fructu tantee Virginia Nos Deo reconcilia., 

Domine Jesu suscipe Deo £atri sit gloria, 

De manibus Caecilise Ejusque soli Filio, 

Fructus casti consilii, Cum Spiritu Paraclito, 

Sicut odorem balsami. Et nunc, et sine termino. Amen. 

^ onsolatrix infirmorura, compassione. 

tej lectrix supernorum, contemplations 

Q onfortatrix Christianorum, prsedicatione. 

*-* mitatrix Beatorum, sacra passione. 

t" 1 iberatrix perditorum, devota oratione. 

hh nventrix liliorum, casta conversations 

> ssociatrix Angelorum, ccelesti revelatione. 


nature, which appeared at this epoch, all make honor- 
able mention of Cecilia. From Bonino Mombrizzio, 
who opened this new path to sacred erudition in the 
early part of the fifteenth century, by his Sanctu- 
avium, dedicated to Simonetta, secretary of the 
Duchess of Milan, down to the Carthusian friar, 
Lawrence Surius, who, in 1568, published his Original 
Lives of the Saints, (comprising in the interval, the 
Agiologium of George Wicklius, in 1541, and the 
collection of Louis Lipoman, Bishop of Verona and 
Bergama) the Acts of St. Cecilia were faithfully re- 
produced. Surius was inclined to follow Metaphras- 
tes, who, as we have said, borrowed them from the 
Latin ; and the translation from the Greek, compared 
with the Roman manuscript, shows the great respect 
with which the religious writer of Constantinople 
treated the touching relation of Cecilia's virtues and 
martyrdom. The arts were even more eager to 
glorify the daughter of the Cecilii. Architecture 
paid its tribute in an elegant Roman Basilica, with 
its marbles, mosaics, and sumptuous decorations, 
and in the magnificent Cathedral of Alby, with the 
majesty, grace, and boldness of its proportions. The 
statuary of the Middle Age paid its homage by 
placing the noble and placid image of St. Cecilia, 
under the porticoes of our Cathedrals, where she stands 
like a queen among the Spouses of Christ. We shall 
hereafter speak of the masterpiece with which Ste- 
phen Maderno enriched the Roman Basilica. It 
represents the virgin sleeping in her mysterious 

* We cannot mention here as a Catholic statue, the Muse 



But Catholic painters, have, as it were, surpassed 
themselves, in endeavoring to express the charm and 
grandeur recalled by Cecilia's name. We will not 
undertake here an enumeration which would far 
exceed the limits of this monograph. We leave to 
others, the pleasure of describing the large stained 
windows on which is traced the history of our martyr, 
the graceful illustrations of liturgical manuscripts, 
the inspired works of the mystical school of the 
fifteenth century, and all the marvellous testimonies 
of love given her by so many artists. We shall 
content ourselves with mentioning the mosaic of 
Eavenna in the sixth century, already described, as 
well as that which St. Paschal caused to be executed 
in the apsis of the Basilica when the Virgin's body 
was translated thither ; these two mosaics seem to be 
the most ancient representations of St. Cecilia which 
have reached us. The ninth century offers us a minia- 
ture, in the Menology of the Emperor Basil, represen- 
ting the martyrdom of the Saint. We next mention a 
fresco of the twelfth century, painted in a crypt of the 
Basilica of St. Lawrence outside the walls. The painting 
is copied with great care in the magnificent collec- 
tion of the frescos of the Catacombs, executed by 
M. Perret, and published by the French Government. 
There are many other interesting paintings, relating 
to the illustrious Virgin, in the ancient pagan temple 
near which St. Urban lived, and which has been 
converted into a Church. These paintings have been 

which. David sculptured under the name of St. Cecilia, and 
which may be seen in the choir of the Cathedral of Angers. 
The statue is graceful, but cannot be classed among the works 
inspired by Christian faith in honor of Cecilia. 


reproduced by Agin court in his Histoire de V Art par 
les monuments, and are referred to the thirteenth 
century; they represent several incidents from the 
Acts of St. Cecilia. We trust that at some future 
day these frescoes will be published in a more suitable 
manner, as they are doubly interesting, both on ac- 
count of their tasteful execution and of the Church 
which they ornament. At this same epoch, Cimabue 
painted a portrait of Cecilia. She is represented seated, 
veiled, and wrapt in a deep blue mantle, holding in 
one hand a palm branch, whilst the other rests upon 
a book of the Gospels. Eight small pictures of inci- 
dents taken from the Acts, surround the main figure, 
forming as it were a frame. By this representation, 
we see that in the thirteenth century, no special 
attribute was assigned to Cecilia. This painting, 
now in the gallery at Florence, was designed for a 
Church of St. Cecilia, which formerly stood in that 
city, but which has been destroyed. We refer to the 
thirteenth, and not to the ninth century, the graceful 
paintings in compartments which formerly adorned 
St. Cecilia's Church, only one of which has been 
saved. The others are only known by the copies 
which were taken before they had totally perished, 
and which are preserved in the Barberini Library, 
and also by the very imperfect engraving published 
by Bosio* in his edition of the Acts of Saint Cecilia. 
The fresco which remains, represents the burial of 
the Virgin by St. Urban, and her apparition to Pas- 
chal ; this latter scene is admirably executed. The 

* D'Agincourt gives the designs of these pictures, hut in such 
a miniature form, that it is impossible to form a correct judgment 
of them. 


nitre and pluviale* of the Pontiff do not permit us to 
date this picture before the thirteenth century ; it may 
even be placed in the fourteenth. In the fifteenth 
century, we cannot omit Pinturieehio. who painted 
five subjects taken from the life of our illustrious 
Virgin, with that indefinable charm which character- 
izes all his productions. They may be seen at the 
gallery of Berlin. We must also speak of a charm- 
ing fresco of the same century, now placed in the 
sacristy of the little Church, which, according to its 
ancient title, we have called St. Cecilia de i . 

It represents the Angel crowning Cecilia and Val :-r- 
ian; Tiburtius and Urban are also introduced. Al- 
though considerably defaced, the picture breathes an 
air of piety and recollection, and recalls the calm 
repose which is the charm of Angelico da Fiesole's 
productions. TTe do not intend to enumerate all the 
monuments of St. Cecilia, but we consider it a duty 
net to omit mentioning the admirable frescoes pain 
by Francisco Francia and his pupils, in a chapel of 
St James' Church, at Bologna. These pictures are 
composed often compartments: the subjects are bor- 
rowed from the Acts of the Saint, and are deservedly 
ranked among the noblest works of Catholic art. in 
its most brilliant period. 

Thev have been inexcusably neglected and allowed 
to deteriorate, yet they still preserve much of their 
original beauty. The fresco which represents C 
martyrdom, f is the only one which can be positively 


t Rio De 1' Art Chretien, page 250. Montalembert. Du Van- 
dal:sme et du Catholicisme dans Tart, p. 147. 
Rio. Ibid, page 172. 
In the Memoirs of the Academic Society of the /Lube. 


attributed to Francia ; it is far superior to the others. 
These ten frescoes were engraven and published in 
1825 ; but the engravings are so very imperfect, that 
it is to be hoped others will be made. Unfortunately, 
the entire series of paintings upon the Life of Saint 
Cecilia, executed by Taddeo Bartolo, in St. Dominic's 
Church at Perugia, has entirely perished. These 
different compositions show how highly the artists of 
this period appreciated our Acts. A precious docu- 
ment of the fifteenth century, recently published by 
M. Guignard, bookseller of Dijon, reveals to us that 
profound study, which enabled these artists to de- 
lineate with so much soul and truth, all the most 
delicate and dramatic incidents in the lives of the 

This document contains the notes given to the 
artists who were charged with executing the cartoons 
of a tapestry destined for the collegiate Church of St. 
Urban de Troyes. The plan comprised six large 
pieces of tapestry, divided into twenty two subjects, 
ten of which were to represent events taken from the 
Acts of Saint Cecilia. The exactitude and attention 
with which the scenes chosen were first analyzed, and 
afterwards arranged in accordance with the simplicity 
of the times : the sentiment to be expressed, the atti- 
tudes of the figures introduced, the costumes ; the 
details of surroundings ; all prove a careful study of 
the Acts, and it is much to be regretted that thia 
beautiful composition has perished, or, as Mr. Guig- 
nard is inclined to think, was never executed. Wo 
mention it, however, as one of the most touching 



homages offered by art to the memory of St. 

The great artists of the sixteenth century, did not 
forget Saint Cecilia. Their style was indeed little 
suited to the supernatural, yet we find that many 
among them delighted in painting Saint Cecilia. 
We might cite Garofalo, Procaccini, Paul Veronese, 
Salimbeni, Tempesta, Guido Eeni, Carlo Dolci, etc. ; 
but these painters sink into the shade by the side of 
the immortal Eaphael. Who does not know that the 
Saint Cecilia of the Museum of Bologna, is classed 
among the great works of this prince of modern 
artists. Still we must acknowledge that many of the 
figures are wanting in that heavenly expression 

* We will refer here to a peculiarity of the fourth piece of 
tapestry, which needs to be explained, as it is found in the most 
beautiful frescoes of Francia, at Bologna. The artists of the 
Middle Age, not understanding the vapor baths which were taken 
by the ancients in the caldarium, were unable to comprehend the 
torment to which Almachius condemned Cecilia, otherwise than 
by supposing that she was placed in a caldron of boiling water. 
They were somewhat embarrassed in their efforts to explain the 
passage of the Acts which refers to the prodigy by which Cecilia's 
body was preserved from moisture If she had been immersed 
in boiling water, this passage would have been, to say the least, 
very singular. In the fifteenth century, the archaeologists were 
unable to explain to the artists a style of baths which were not 
then used. Moreover, the latter would have found great diffi- 
culty in representing in a painting the saint praying in the 
caldarium, whilst by representing her half plunged in a caldron, 
or, as Francia does, in a bath, with a lictor brandishing his sword 
above her head, they were able to describe both kinds of martyr- 
dom, as they understood them. A little later, Julius Romanus 
and Guido understood the ancient customs, and represented 
Cecilia kneeling in her caldarium, and extending her neck to 
the executioner. 


which characterizes all his early paintings. For the ' 
honor of Cecilia, we prefer therefore, mentioning first, ' 
the beautiful picture in the royal gallery at Naples, 
although she only figures in it as an accessory. 
Eaphael painted it in 1505, for the religious of Saint 
Anthony of Perugia, The principal subject represents 
our Saviour taken down from the Cross and placed 
on his mother's knees, Saints Peter and Paul stand 
on one side, Saints Cecilia and Catherine on the 
other. The wonderful talent of the artist is very 
evident in these four figures, and thus we have a 
Cecilia truly worthy of the divine Eaphael." 36, The 
painting at Bologna is chiefly valuable as a work of 
art: St. John the Evangelist and Saint Paul stand 
on the right of the martyr, St. Augustin and St. 
Mary Magdalen on her left. All these figures are 
incontestably beautiful, but there is no mystical ex- 
pression about them. Magdalen in particular does 
not at all correspond with our idea of a holy penitent. 
There is a heavenly expression about Cecilia, but her 
embonpoint badly accords with our notions of a 
saint. Emblems of profane music are scattered at 
her feet ; her lyre rests upon her knees ; her eyes 
are raised to heaven and she seems listening to 
angelic concerts. This much admired painting was 
destined for the chapel of St. John in Monte , at Bo- 
logna. Vasari has asserted that Francesco Francia, 
after looking at it, died of jealousy. Happily for the 
honor of Catholic art, this is a mere fable. Eaphael 
commenced his picture of St. Cecilia towards the 
end of the year 1513, and finished it in 1514, and 

* Vasari. Tonic iii. p. 1(J6. 


Francesco Francia did not die until 1533. Finally, 
that we may omit nothing relating to the famous St. 
Cecilia of Bologna, we will remind our readers that 
it was this painting which awakened in Corregio the 
consciousness of his own talent, and made him ex- 
claim, " And I too am a painter." 

Among the noble works of Domenichino, we find 
no less than six pictures, wherein Cecilia occupies the 
principal place. Besides these, we must also mention 
the frescoes he painted at Rome in St. Cecilia's chapel 
in the Church of St. Louis des Franeais. They em- 
brace the entire life of the saint. The angel con- 
versing with Valerian and Cecilia ; the Virgin dis- 
tributing her fortune to the poor after Valerian's 
martyrdom ; Almachius seated on his tribunal, and 
the calm and imposing attitude of Cecilia, refusing to 
offer incense to the idols ; finally and pre-eminently, 
the immortal scene of Urban's interview with the 
expiring virgin ; the bathroom inundated with gene- 
rous blood which the faithful eagerly collect, the 
poor assisting at the last moments of their faithful 
benefactress, the Pontiff's ineffable emotion at the 
sight of so sublime a sacrifice ; the martyr's legacy 
to the Father of the faithful. The blending of all 
these incidents portrays the Acts of Saint Cecilia far 
more vividly than the most eloquent words could do. 
We will conclude with a mention of Lionello Spada, 
who died in the seventeenth century, twenty years 
before Domenichino. In his admirable painting, 
preserved .at St. Michael del Bosco, at Bologna, he 
has represented Saint Cecilia in the midst of the 
heated vapor of her caldarium. He is, we believe, 


the first artist who ever attempted this subject, and 
it must be confessed that he has both conceived and 
executed it in an admirable mariner. Artists of the 
French school have, in these latter days, represented 
our Saint in a manner unworthy her dignity. 

Every one is well acquainted with the picture 
painted by Mignard, for Louis XIV., in which he 
represented the virgin appareled like a coquette. 
A renowned artist of our own day, has degraded 
Saint Cecilia to the level of a lady in her boudoir. 
May Catholic art soon resume her empire in our dear 
France, and may her artists ere long present us with 
a Cecilia worthy of the name ! Music claims the 
Eoman Virgin as its special patroness ; she is the 
Queen of Christian Harmony. Her name is blended 
with all the triumphs of music in the sixteenth 
century. Musical Societies were placed under her 
protection, and her Festival was celebrated by melo- 
dies composed in her honor. How often has a mass 
in honor of St. Cecilia, or a hymn in her praise, been 
the first composition of some talented musician ! How 
many artists of superior or secondary merit, have 
considered their compositions worthless until they 
had dedicated a hymn to the Virgin whose protec- 
tion they craved ! Even at the present day, the feast 
of St. Cecilia is celebrated wherever music creates 
the slightest interest. 

In the annual concerts, which bring to the foot of 
the altar so many men, who, during the rest of the 
year, are wholly absorbed in worldly occupations, 
masterpieces may be rare, the execution defective, 
the motives for the assembly indifferent, if not worse ; 


but it is delightful to find the most seductive of arts 
acknowledging each year that the superior sentiment 
of harmony emanates from purity of mind and 
heart, personified in Cecilia. It is then that more 
than one soul, animated with heavenly thoughts, 
aspires after more harmonious and durable concerts 
than those of this world of sorrows, where the chords 
of the lyre, having been broken by sin, can only 
be joined for a moment ; and can never resound with 
a full and perfect accord, except when employed to 
honor God, in concert with the angels. An English 
poet has most happily expressed this thought in a 
canticle which he composed for the Feast of St. Cecilia. 

Our joys below it can improve, 

And antedate the bliss above. 

This the divine Cecilia found, 

And to her Maker's praise confin'd the souud. 

When the full organ joins the tuneful choir, 

Th' immortal pow'rs incline their ear ; 
Borne on the swelling notes our souls aspire, 
While solemn airs improve the sacred fire : 

And Angels lean from heav'n to hear. 
Of Orpheus now no more let poets tell, 

To bright Cecilia greater pow'r is giv'n ; 
His numbers rais'd a shade from hell, 

Her's lift the soul to heav'n. 

Pope : Ode for music, on S. Cecilia's day. 



Paul Emilius was born at Milan, 1561. His father, 
Paul SfondratOj was a brother of Gregory XIV ; his 


mother, whose name was Sigismund, "belonged to the 
family of Este. In his youth, Paul showed the hap- 
piest dispositions, and when old enough to choose a 
state of life, at once gave preference to the Church. 
He came to Eome at an early age, and spent some time 
in the house of the Oratorian Fathers, at St. Maria, in 
Yallicella, where he had the happiness of becoming 
acquainted with St. Philip Neri. The ardent piety 
of young Sfondrato was stimulated by the society of 
this illustrious servant of God, and in his interviews 
with the holy old man, he imbibed that charity to- 
wards the poor, that zeal for the adornment of the 
sanctuary, and that fervent devotion towards the 
martyrs, which were his principal characteristics 
throughout life. Gregory XIV., who was made Pope 
on the 5th of December, 1590, created his nephew, 
Paul Emilius, Cardinal, on the 19th of the same month, 
a promotion which was universally applauded. The 
young Prelate, then twenty-nine years of age, was 
absent from Eome when he received the news of his 
elevation. He hastened to his uncle, who had always 
appreciated his virtue, and who now admitted him at 
once into his councils. Eome was at this time in- 
tensely interested in the affairs of France. A Cal- 
vinist prince had claimed the crown ; he had been 
vigorously opposed by the League, but the decisive 
battle of Ivry which had taken place immediately 
after the death of Sixtus V., had rendered further 
resistance vain. Urban VII., had reigned but thir- 
teen days. Gregory XIV., supported by his nephew, 
Paul Emilius, responded to the cannons of the vic- 
torious Henry by fresh anathemas. But after a short 


Pontificate, he was called to his reward. He wag 
succeeded by Innocent IX., who reigned but two 
months. The cause then passed into the vigorous 
hands of Clement VIII. 

The death of Gregory XIV. restored to his nephew 
the leisure he so much coveted, and with increasing 
ardor, he devoted himself to works of piety and 
mercy. His uncle had magnificently provided him 
with rich benefices, but he did not make use of them 
to surround himself with the luxuries which his ele- 
vated position rendered perfectly justifiable. His 
palace, void of hangings or tapestry, proved that he 
preferred to clothe the poor of Jesus Christ. The 
Pontifical Court admired this prince of the Church, 
who never suffered any but earthen vessels to be 
placed on his table, that he might be enabled to feed 
a greater number of poor. Such was Sfondrato, when 
at the very pinnacle of honor; such he remained 
during his whole life.* Two objects engrossed his 

* Amelot de la Houssaye, editor of the letters of Cardinal 
d'Ossat, ambassador from Henry IV. to Clement VIII., mentions 
in the notes of this book, different testimonies of the profound 
esteem in which Sfondrato was held at the Roman court. Ac- 
cording to the expression of Delfini, the ambassador from Venice 
to the Holy See, this cardinal walked in the footsteps of Car- 
dinal Borromeo. (Lettres de d'Ossat, tome v., p. 304). Cardinal 
Bentivoglio, in his memoirs, gives a still more precious and de- 
tailed account of the virtues of Sfondrato in his private life, and 
also attests the great veneration he enjoyed. (Ibid., tome i., 
page 89). D'Ossat, who well understood human nature, speaks 
with admiration in his correspondence of the firmness of Sfon- 
drato when, in an assembly of cardinals, he alone, of all the 
Sacred College, refused to give his vote for the prcmiotion of 
Sylvester Aldobrandini to the cardinalate. This nephew of 
Clement VIII. was but fourteen years of age, and Sfondrato 


generous soul: 1st. To glorify Christ in His tri- 
umphant members. 2d. To soothe Christ in Ilia 
suffering members. Sfondrato studied this lesson fti 
the school of St. Cecilia. Gregory XIV., in elevating 
him to the purple, placed in his hand as a pious in- 
heritance the Church he had himself held, that of our 
illustrious martyr, who, during her life had been 
so full of compassion for the poor ; so zealous in 
burying the champions of the faith. It was reserved 
for Sfondrato to walk in Paschal's footsteps; Christ 
destined him to place a much more brilliant crown 
upon the brow of his Spouse than she had received 
in the ninth century from the hands of a Pontiff. 
Sfondrato took possession of the title of St. Cecilia on 
the 25th of January, 1591. The ceremony, was pom- 
pous and solemn, notwithstanding the raging of a 
violent storm, accompanied by thunder and torrents 
of rain, which being unusual at that season, might 
well have thrown a gloom over the brilliancy of the 
festival. The new cardinal paid his respects to the 
abbess and her community in the parlor ; he spoke 
of his veneration for their Church, and added, with 
charming simplicity, that if he had felt any desire 
for the purple, it was only that he might become 
titulary of St. Cecilia. The result will prove the 
cardinal's sincerity.* About this time Sigismondo 
d'Este, mother of Paul Emilius, came to visit Borne, 

fearlessly quoted to the Pontiff that canon of the Council of 
Trent, (Sess. xxiv.) which requires the same age, learning, and 
qualities for cardinals as for bishops. (Lettres de d'Ossat, 
tome v., page 317). 

* Archives of St. Cecilia. Croniche del venerabile monastero 
di S. Cecilia. 



accompanied by the cardinal's sister and sister-in-law, 
and several ladies of the family. They visited the 
Church of St. Cecilia, and treated the religions with 
the greatest affability. Not satisfied with conversing 
with the abbess and sisters in the parlor, they begged 
to kiss their hands. It was therefore necessary to 
admit them into the interior of the monastery, which 
was immediately done. During this interchange of 
mutual charity, Sfondrato's mother remained upon 
her knees, through respect for the Spouses of Christ. 
Thus did all this family testify their affection for our 
illustrious Saint, by the respect which they showed 
to the consecrated virgins who guarded her sanctuary. 
Sfondrato felt that the Basilica which had been re- 
stored to the abbess by Maura Magalotta, sixty years 
previous^, required some repairs ; and, moreover, 
he did not consider it sufficiently handsome. He 
undertook a general restoration, and without destroy- 
ing the antique and venerable character of the edi- 
fice, he threw over it that air of splendor so well 
suited to the Churches of Eome. Sfondrato's first 
thought was to enrich the Basilica with the numer- 
ous and important relics which he had collected, 
frequently through the mediation of his uncle. They 
were contained in a number of silver and silver gilt 
caskets; and that he might preserve them more 
worthily, he conceived the idea of placing them under 
the altar of the Confession. But the accessible space 
between the altar and the mysterious region of the 
tombs, was not sufficiently large to contain this pre- 
cious deposit. The cardinal decided to enlarge the 
place, and, eagerly desiring to find Cecilia's body, 


he resolved to pierce through the thick stone wall 
upon which the altar rested. He th ought with reason 
that the tomb could not be far from the entrance; 
and, moreover, he knew that the opening in front of the 
altar must correspond with Cecilia's sepulchre, since 
formerly the faithful by means of this opening lowered 
pieces of linen to touch the tomb. In the expectation 
of a discovery which was to prove the consolation 
and glory of his life, Sfondrato ordered the workmen 
to labor only in his presence, commanding them to 
suspend their operations when he was forced to leave 
the Basilica.* 

Finally on Wednesday, the 20th of October, 1599, 
the Cardinal commanded that the pavement should 
be taken away from before the altar. They then 
cleared away the ground from around the stones, and 
loosened the foundations of the wall which covered 
the subterranean enclosure. After making with 
much effort an opening in the thick wall, the space 
under the altar was clearly seen. Two sarcophagi 
of white marble, placed side by side, three feet below 
the ground, at once struck Sfondrato's eye. These, 
two tombs were directly under the altar. Transported 
with holy joy, tlie Cardinal determined, before open- 
ing the tomb, to send for some reliable witnesses. 
He immediately despatched messengers for the Bishop 
of Isernia, Vicegerent of the Cardinal Vicar, James 
Buzzi, Canon of the congregation of Lateran, and 
Fathers Peter Alagona and Peter Morra, of the 
Society of Jesus. They soon arrived, accompanied 

* All these details, and those which follow, may be found in 
Bosio's interesting; relation of the finding of Cecilia's body and 
those of her companions. 


by several members of the Cardinal's household. 
After again examining the place, they hastened to 
open the first tomb, that which was nearest the sub- 
terranean entrance. The workmen having removed 
the marble slab which covered it, a cypress coffin 
was seen inside, four feet, three inches in length, 
thirteen inches in width, and seventeen high. There 
was no appearance of a lock, and the upper lid was 
not even fastened with nails. It was very thin, and 
opened and closed by means of a groove. For some 
time, Sfondrato and his assistants w r ere uncertain how 
to open this sacred coffin, which they were sure con- 
tained the body of St. Cecilia. Finally, the Cardinal 
himself discovered the proper means, and, with 
trembling hands, respectfully removed the frail obsta- 
cle which concealed the virgin's body from his eyes. 

It was a solemn moment. After eight centuries 
of obscurity and silence, Cecilia appeared once more 
to the faithful of Christ, in the ineffable majesty of 
her martyrdom. The interior of the coffin was 
covered with the same damask, although somewhat 
faded, w r ith which Paschal had lined it.* Time had 
respected the thin veil w T hich the Pontiff' bad thrown 
over her bod) r , and through this tr»sparent texture, 
the gold with which her dress was embroidered, 
sparkled with brilliancy. f 

* Aperta capsa circumornata undique apparuit intus textili 
quodam sericae quam vulgo appellant saiae similitudinem refer- 
ente, coloris ex viridi et rufo permixti, cujus tamen nitorem 
temporis longiuquitate obiuscatum agnosceres. Hoc illud est 
textile, de quo sic Bibliothecarius in Paschali, dum dona quae 
is Pontifex huic Eccleske contulit, recenset : Fecit in arcella, 
ad corpus jam dictce Virginis vest em de quadrupulo cum periclisin. 
Bosio. Relatio inventionis et repositionis S. Caiciiice et Sociorum. 

f Intra banc capsam beatae Caeciliae Virginis corpus extabat 


Who can describe the joy of these Catholic hearts 
to whom heaven had granted the favor of being the 
first to salute upon her triumphal couch, the martyr 
of the third century, who, in these tempestuous days, 
was revealed to the Eoman Church, as if to encour- 
age her in her conflict with error, and to give to 
her children, a sure pledge of the reward that awaited 
those who should fight courageously until the end. 
Those heroes of Catholicity, who had so lately shed 
their blood in England,* in Holland, f and even on 
the seas, J were also sleeping in the tomb, and Cecilia, 
rising from the grave, not only wished them peace, 
but proclaimed by her example, the truth of that 
oracle of the Psalmist : " The Lord keepeth the bones 
of His servants, not one of them shall be lost. r § 

All were eager to gaze nearer on the mortal re- 
mains of the Spouse of Christ. Sfondrato, with pro- 
found veneration, raised the veil, and exposed to 
view, the treasure confided to the tomb by Urban 
and Paschal. The martyr was clothed in her antique 
robe, embroidered with gold, upon which the glori- 
ous marks of her virginal blood were still apparent;! 
at her feet was the linen stained with the purple of 
her martyrdom.^" She was lying upon her right side, 

serico, atque fusco coopertum velo, subterque velum vestes 
aurese virginei sanguinis notas respersse, fugaci tenuique fulgore 
translucebant. Bosio. Relatio invent to nis et repositionis S. Ccs- 
citiaz et Sociorum. 

* Under Henry VIII. and Elizabeth. 

f The martyrs of Grorcum. 

t F. Ignatius Azvedo and bis thirty-nine companions. 

§ Psalm xxxiii., 21. 

|| Vestes aurese virginei sanguinis notis reapers*, Relatio 
Relatio, find. 

H Insuper ad pedes sacrati corporis linteamiiiuui glomttfl jaoo- 


and seemed to be in a profound sleep.* The neck 
still bore the marks of the wounds made by the lie- 
tor's sword ; f the head, by a mysterious and touch- 
ing curvature, was turned towards the bottom of the 

The body was found perfectly entire, whilst the 
graceful and modest figure of the saint, preserved so 
miraculously after so many centuries, vividly re- 
called the martyr breathing her last sigh upon the 
pavement of her Caldarmm. The spectators were 
transported in spirit to the day when Urban had re- 
closed the coffin, without disturbing the attitude 
which the virgin had chosen to yield up her soul to 
her immortal Spouse.§ They also admired Paschal's 
prudence in leaving the body just as he had dis- 
covered it, and thus preserving so grand a spectacle 
for posterity.]! 

bat convolutorum, ilia nimirum quae ipse Paschalis in litieris 
Inventionis suae commemorat. Bosio. Relatio etc. 

* Jacebat id corpus in dexterum incumbens latus, paululum 
contractis cruribus, brachiisque ante projectis. Bosio, Ibid. 

| Corpus S. Csecilise adliuc intactum, serica viste auro texta, 
vulnerum cicatricibus apparentibus, Clemens Papa VIII., in ar- 
gentea urna sub ara maxima collocari curavit. Fonseca De Basi- 
lica S. Laurentii in Damaso, page 285. 

J Cervice autem valde reliexa, facieque ad humum proctrm- 
bente, dormientis instar. Bosio. Ibid. 

§ Earn ut crcdi potest formam retinens, in qua post trinam 
percussionem, cui triduum supervixit, animam Deo reddens 
conciderat, fueratque pariter in Ccemeterio ab Urbano Pontifice 
collocatum. Bosio. Ibid. 

|| The cypress coffin must have been the identical one in 
which St. Urban buried Cecilia. It is very certain that it would 
have been impossible, in the ninth century, to transfer the mar- 
tyr's body to so narrow a coffin, without disturbing her attitude 
or even.disjoini/ig her limbs. Anastasius, in relating the marks 


They next proceeded to open the second sarcoph- 
agus ; it was contiguous to that of Cecilia, but buried 
deeper under the altar, towards the apsis. In it were 
found three bodies, lying side by side, each wrapped 
in a shroud. The first was placed with the feet to- 
wards the right side of the altar ; the head had been 
taken away. The second with the feet towards the 
left side of the altar ; the head was with the body, 
although severed from it. The third, with the head 
attached to the body, was in the same position as the 

It was easy to recognize Valerian, Tiburtius, and 
Maximus, in this imposing triumvirate of Martyrs. 
In the first place, Paschal's inscription enumerated 
the three bodies which he had interred near Cecilia. 
The absence of the head, in the one occupying the 
first place, left no doubt that the body belonged 
to Tiburtius, whose head, as we have stated, was 

of honor paid by Paschal to Cecilia, only mentions the material 
with which he lined her coffin, proving evidently that the latter 
was not new, and therefore only needed ornamenting. The 
small size of the cypress coffin is easily explained by the neces-. 
sity of placing it in one of those narrow cells, where the bodies 
of the martyrs were frequently deposited without coffins. The 
very fact of a coffin in a marble sarcophagus, would be a sufficient 
proof that it existed before Paschal's discovery of the body. 
The bodies of Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus, were also in a 
sarcophagus, but they were laid upon their backs, simply 
wrapped in shrouds. So were those of Sts. Urban and Lucius. 
The learned Protestant writers, Platner, Bunsen, etc, in their 
great work upon Rome, (Beschreibung der Stadt Rom. vol. iii., 
part iii. page 641.) find no difficulty in dating the Saint's atti- 
tude to the first sepulture; we think we have fully demon- 
strated that the cypress coffin was equally old 
* Bosio. Rdalio, etc. 


preserved in a casket in the Basilica.. 4 The second 
was undoubtedly the body of Cecilia's husband, and 
there was such a striking resemblance between the 
bones of the two martyrs, that it was evident the 
brothers had suffered death at almost the same agef 
There was no doubt that the third body was that of 
Maximus. This notary of Almachius had not been 
beheaded, but had been beaten to death with loaded 
whips. His skull bore evident traces of this punish- 
ment. It was fractured in several places, and strange 
to say, the martyr's brown hair, clotted with blood, 
was entirely preserved, as if our Lord had willed to 
accomplish literally in him, the promise he has made 
to his Athletes. M Nb one of your hairs shall be 
lost."} The skeleton of MaiJmus proved that he 
was much taller than the brothers, and his head 
adhered so firmly to his body, that when Sfondrato, 
at a later period, wished to remove it, he had great 
difficultv in doing: so.S 

Tl^e sepulchre of Popes Urban and Lucius, was 
not discovered on that day. Sfondrato knew from 
Paschal's document, that he was near the two others, 
but he was eager to return to Cecilia's tomb, to 

* Corpus sancti Tiburtii ab illo sancti Valeriani eo argurnento 
recognituin est. quoniaru sancti Tiburtii corpus capite carebat, 
cum foris in Ecelesia proprio in taberuaculo conservaretur. ut 
creditur ab ipso Pasehali Papa sublatum. Bosio. Rclatio, etc. 

t Corpus sancti Valeriani distinctum est a Sancti Max- 
im i, ex eo quod inventum est illius caput a trunco corporis df- 
vuJsum. quod ei gladio recisum fuerat. magnitudine quoque. et 
formae proportione capiti Sancti Tiburtii it a simile, ut duorum 
pari fere state fratrum esse videreiitur. Bosio. Relatlo, etc. 

% Luke xxi. IS. 

§ Contra vero Sancti Haximi, qui non capite plexus, sed ad 
Decern plumbatia cx-sus fuerat. repertom est caput iia cum cor- 


whom the glory of this second Invention, as well as 
that of the first, principally belonged. 

He ordered the cypress coffin to be removed from 
the marble sarcophagus, and carried with lighted 
candles to a place adjoining the church and monas- 
tery, generally used for hearing the confessions of 
the nuns. A wooden chest had been hastily pre- 
pared, covered with silk and closed by a lock. 
Sfondrato deposited therein the cypress coffin, con- 
taining the precious treasure which he valued so 
highly ; he then locked the out side chest, and sealed 
it with his seal. A platform was erected upon 
which the body of Cecilia was placed, on an even 
line with the grated window looking into the church, 
at the extremity of the lateral nave, on the left as 
you enter the church. * The news of so important a 
discovery spread quickly through Eome and excited 
the greatest enthusiasm. 



Sfondrato did not wish to proceed further, or to 
consummate the Invention of the martyrs, without 
inviting the Sovereign Pontiff* to identify this sacred 

pore conjunctum, ut cum ipse Cardinalis tollere illud vellet, ut 
extra simul cum aliis Sancti Valeriani, et Tiburtii publico in al- 
tari colcretur, magno id conatu et labore perfecerit. Ostendebat 
etiam idem caput percussionum, quas ex plumbatis acceperat 
Hotas, et fractionis signa, licet formam integram retineret, in quo 
subilava quoque caesaries quasi viventis, er omne capillanientum 
repersa sanguine incerrupta ccruebantur. tiosio. Rclatio, p. 311. 


deposit. Following the example of John, who, run- 
ning faster than Peter, and arriving first at the Sepul- 
chre, nevertheless abstained from entering, so Sfon- 
drato, through deference for the Chief of the Apostolic 
College, after giving suitable orders, started for 
Frascati where Clement VIII. bad-gone to enjoy the 
country air. Baronius was with the Pontiff. He 
will give his own narration of the great event. 

11 Clement was confined to his bed with a violent 
attack of gout, and admitted no one to an audience ; 
but as soon as he heard the motive of Sfondrato's 
arrival, he immediately requested to see the Cardinal, 
and hear from his own lips, the account of this 
wonderful discovery. The Pontiff listened to the 
recital with extreme joy, and was deeply grieved 
that he was unable, on account of his illness, to go 
immediately and pay his respects to the great martyr.* 
Now it happened that this disappointment turned to 
my advantage, for, notwithstanding my unworthiness, 
the Pontiff commissioned me to identify and venerate 
the body of St. Cecilia. Without loss of time, Sfon- 
drato immediately set out for Eome ; I accompanied 
him, and the same evening, we reached the Church of 
St. Cecilia. 

" I saw the $y press coffin which had been enclosed 
in the marble sarcophagus. It contained Cecilia's 
body, and was closed with a very thin and somewhat 
inj ured cover. I gazed with admiration at the simple 
wooden coffin so perfectly preserved after having been 
buried in the earth for eight hundred and seventy 

* Ex eo tamen doluit et ingemuit, quod eo detineretur ex mala 
valetudine impedimento, et non valeret ad invisendam et salu- 
tandani tantain Martyrein pioperare. Baronius. Annal. ad an- 
num &21. 


eight years, where neither light nor air could pene- 
trate, and constantly exposed to decay from the 
humidity of the marble in which it was enclosed. 
It was so solid that it could be touched and even 
handled without being in the least injured. The 
cover was likewise so perfect that for several days 
the coffin was continually opened and closed to 
satisfy the devotion of those who wished to see and 
venerate the holy Martyr." 

" Having fully examined and admired the shrine, 
we wished to see the sacred body which it inclosed. 
Then were verified the words of David : L As we have 
heard, so have we seen, in the city of the Lord of 
hosts in the city of our God.' "* 

We found Cecilia's body in precisely the same 
condition in which it was when Pope Paschal dis- 
covered and buried it. At her feet, the blood-stained 
linen ; the dress of silk and gold, which the Pontiff 
described, perfectly recognizable, although somewhat 
impaired by time.f 

" We remarked other light silken textures upon the 
body, their depression aided us in perfectly distin- 
guishing the beautiful cumbent figure so modestly 
and gracefully distended. We were struck with ad- 
miration to see that the body was not stretched out 
in the coffin, as the bodies of the dead generally are. 
The chaste virgin was lying upon her right side as 
if gently sleeping on a couch, her knees modestly 

* Ps. xlvii. 9. 

f Etenim ut a Paschali Papa inventum et reoonditum fuisse 
legimus venerandum Csecilia) corpus, ita iuvenimus, uempe ad 
pedes ejus qua? fuerant, madida sanguine vela, » i t seiica tilaauro 
obdueta quae vis ebantur, jam vetustate solu® vestis illiua auro 
textoB oujus idem Paschal is meminit, indices erant. Baronius, 
A n no 1. ad annum 821. 


joined, "her whole appearance inspiring such, respect, 
that notwithstanding our pious curiosity, no one ven- 
tured to touch her.^Every one was deeply moved 
with veneration, as if her heavenly Spouse, watching 
over her sleep, had uttered these words: 'I adjure, 
you that you wake not my beloved till she please.'* 

" We saw, we recognized, we venerated.f The next 
morning we offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass 
upon the altar of the Confession, in memory and in 
honor of this glorious Virgin Martyr and the other 
Saints buried near her. We then returned to Fras- 
cati, and reported all we had seen to the sovereign 
Pontiff. Clement listened with satisfaction, and im- 
mediately commenced to make arrangements for the 
translation of this august body to her Confession, a 
ceremony which he declared he alone would perform 
to the exclusion of any other prelate, no matter how 
eminent his dignity. The Feast of St. Cecilia was 
the day appointed for the translation."^: 

We will discontinue the recital of this great an- 

* Alia vero supra Martyris corpus serica, levia tamen velami- 
na posita, ipsaque depressa situm ipsum et habitudinem cor- 
poris ostendebant. Visebaturque (quod admiratione dignum 
erat) non ut assolet in sepulehro resupinum positum corpus, 
sed ut in lecto jacens bones tissima virgo supra dextrum cubare 
latus, contractis nonnibil ad modestiam genibus, ut dormientis 
imagineni reddere potius quam defunctce, ipso ita ad insinuan- 
dam in omnibus virginalem verecundiam composito situ corporis: 
adeo ut (quod seque mirandum) nemo quamvis curiosus in- 
spector ausus omnino fuerit virgineum illud detegere corpus 
reverentia quandam inenarrabilii repercussus, perinde ac si 
coelestis Sponsus assisteret vigilans custos dormientis sponsae, 
monens et minans : Ne suscitetis neque evigilare faciatis dilec- 
tam donee ipsa velit. Annal. ad annum 821. 

f Vidimus, cognovimus et adoravimus. Ibid. 

X Baronius. Annal ad annum 821. 


nalist, and beg our readers to consider with us one 
of the most touching characteristics of the Catholic 
Church, so divinely manifested in the scenes we have 
already related, and those which are yet untold. A 
statesman of our day has remarked, that " Catholicity 
is the greatest school for respect upon earth ;" we 
will add that religion, as it is taught and practised 
in the Catholic Church, is the inexhaustible source 
of the most elevated and noble emotions which man 
can experience. From it flow the many acts of de- 
votedness, the many generous sacrifices, and the noble 
enthusiasm characteristic of the Catholic Church. 
Would you know whence she derives her marvellous 
power ? Doubtless from the doctrine and example 
of our Saviour, who, since His ascension to heaven, 
has been pleased to reproduce in his Saints the ad- 
mirable virtues He himself practised. Hence that 
love, that continual remembrance in the Church, of 
the heroes she has produced. Hence the ever old 
and always new development of charity which is 
unceasingly going on within her. The Saints live 
with God in a blessed eternity ; and the Church in 
this valley of tears continually feels their protection. 
Therefore she unceasingly loves them, rejoices in 
honoring them, and in proposing them to our imita- 
tion. If we cling to our departed friends with that 
love which the Scripture says is stronger than death,* 
how great must be the confidence of the Church in 
the intercession of the Saints, who are now far more 
tenderly interested in each one of her children, and 
far more powerful to aid them than when they were 

* Cant. viii. 6. 



themselves sojourning in this vale of tears. Behold 
Clement VIII. the austere old man, who during two 
entire years had refused to the triumphant Henry of 
Navarre the absolution which through the medium 
of his ambassadors, he implored upon his knees. 
Behold this Pontiff, who inherited all the energy of 
his predecessors, and unshrinkingly bore the weight 
of the tiara at the very time when so many pro- 
vinces of Europe were separating from the Church ; 
behold his great soul filled with joy on hearing that 
the remains of a Christian lady of the third century 
had been discovered! As soon as his strength per- 
mitted, he repaired in person to venerate the precious 
relic. He watered it with tears of joy and emotion ; 
he esteemed among the greatest events of his ponti- 
ficate the translation of Cecilia's coffin to a splendid 
casket, to purchase which he almost exhausted the 
papal treasury. 

Such a spectacle is incomprehensible to those not 
initiated in Catholicity, but can any thing more 
strikingly show the veneration of the Church toward 
those who have carried the practice of virtue even to 
heroism ? After the lapse of six centuries, Paschal 
rivals St. Urban, in his respectful tenderness towards 
the virgin, and eight centuries later, the daughter of 
the Cecilii finds the same pious affection in the heart 
of Clement. Add to this, that the sepulture given to 
the virgin by Paschal was much more solemn than 
that she received from Urban's hands ; and that the 
enthusiasm manifested at the last translation of her 
body, far exceeded that shown in the ninth century, 
w^hen her Basilica was restored by Paschal. 


Now, however, the Eeformation was triumphing ; 
memorials which had been cherished for centuries, 
were trampled under foot ; the bones of the saints 
were thrown into the highways, because they re- 
called too vividly the example of those sublime vir- 
tues which were so uncongenial to a century emanci- 
pated from the superstitions of popery. Nevertheless, 
Eome, the capital of the Christian world, cursed by 
so many nations, and called the Prostitute of Babylon, 
was agitated with as deep a joy on hearing that the body 
of a young Eoman matron, martyred under Alexan- 
der Severus, had been discovered, as if she had been 
told that a treasure, sufficient to enrich each of her 
inhabitants, had been suddenly revealed. And why 
was this? Because this young Eoman virgin, who 
had been buried for so many centuries, was the 
model of a purity worthy of Angels, of an inviolable 
devotedness to the God to whom she had consecrated 
herself, of an ardent zeal for the salvation of souls, 
of tender charity for the poor, of invincible firmness 
in confessing the faith which elevates human nature, 
of courage in twice braving death, and, finally, of 
that inexpressible charm resulting from the sublime 
virtue of Christian virginity. 

Such were in the third, the ninth, and the sixteenth 
centuries, and such will be to the end of time, Ceci- 
lia's claims to the love of Christians. Past genera- 
tions loved her, because, by her example, she 
traced out for them the path which leads to a 
better world; and now, at the close of an heretical 
century, she suddenly reappears, as if to re-enkindle 
the spark of heavenly fire, almost extinct upon earth 


How could Catholicity resist such an appeal? Is it 
astonishing that the Father of the Faithful, the Su- 
preme Head of that Church, so sadly decimated by 
heresy, should welcome with joy, and salute with 
gladness one of its most noble and privileged 
daughters ? Is it astonishing that the pious and 
learned Baronius should have laid aside his immortal 
pen, to hasten to Cecilia's tomb, whence the glorious 
martyr was silently proclaiming to the worid that 
the Church of Clement VIII. is the Church of 
Urban, because it is the Church of Jesus Christ ? 
Is it surprising that the wealthy and generous Sfon- 
drato henceforth devoted his zeal and his riches to 
adorning Cecilia's temple, when we consider that 
the object of this holy profusion was to encourage 
Catholics to practise those virtues which form the 
eternal crown of the virgin martyr ? This pomp, 
these gifts, and honors, the transports of the entire 
city, from the venerable old man who wore the tiara, 
down to the most humble of his subjects, could not 
indeed restore to the Church, the half of Germany, 
which had fallen a victim to heresy, nor England, 
Sweden, Denmark, and the Swiss Cantons now alien- 
ated from the Church, which had been their common 
Mother for centuries. But they attested that even in 
this fearful crisis, holiness, purity of life, and the 
heroism of devotedness, were as much respected in 
Eome, as they had ever been. The time will come 
when the misguided nations that have seceded from 
the Faith, fatigued with doubts and incredulity, will 
turn towards the only country where the Ideal of 
virtue can never be lost, since it is placed upon the 




On his return to Frascati, Sfondrato caused a new 
search to be made in the hopes of finding the tomb 
of the holy Popes, Urban and Lucius. It was soon 
discovered; Paschal had placed it under the sar- 
cophagus which contained Cecilia's cypress coffin. 
The two Pontiffs were laid side by side, the former 
with his head turned towards the right of the altar, 
whilst the latter was turned towards the left. Each 
body was wrapped in a shroud. Sfondrato venerated 
with profound respect, the sacred remains of these mar- 
tyr Popes, one of whom had been Cecilia's director, 
and her guest in the very house upon the ground of 
which now rose the Basilica. These precious relics 
were reserved to enhance the splendor of the festival, 
which Clement had appointed for the 22d of Novem- 
ber. But before this solemn day, Sfondrato deter- 
mined to take measures to ensure to posterity a part 
of the joy which he had experienced in contemplating 
the Spouse of Christ in her mysterious sleep. He 
therefore commissioned a skilful sculptor, Stefano 
Maderno,* to immortalize with his graceful chisel, 
Cecilia's attitude in her tomb. The design was made 
with scrupulous exactness, and the brilliant young 
artist, only twenty-four years of age, inspired by 
* He was born in 1576. He sculptured many of the ma-niil- 
cent bass reliefs in the Pauline Chapel at Bt. Mary Major, 
among others, that which represents Pope Liberius, traoing 
upon snow, the foundation of the Esquiline Basilica. 



such a subject, enriched Christian statuary with this 
master-piece of grace and modesty which is one of 
the principal glories of the trans-Tiberian Basilica. 
He even represented the position of the martyr's 
hands, which so touch ingly express her faith. Three 
fingers of the right hand were extended to denote the 
three Persons of the Holy Trinity ; and the fore- 
finger of the left, held out to represent the unity of 
the Godhead. Thus did even this symbolical sign 
prove, after so many centuries, the belief for which 
Cecilia had shed her blood. Notwithstanding his 
great desire to take from this marvellous tomb, some 
portion of its precious relics, Sfondrato's devotion 
was too delicate to permit him even to think of touch- 
ing the body which had been preserved entire by 
Divine Providence during so many centuries.* He 
wished to reserve it for the day when Cecilia, at the 
sound of the angel's trumpet, would return to resume 
her glorious body, w r hich virginity seemed already to 
have stamped with immortality. The virgin appeared 
anxious to reward Sfondrato's pious reserve. In 
order to retain at least a memorial of the touching 
spectacle which had greeted his eyes upon opening 
the tomb, the Cardinal determined to take away some 
of the blood-stained linen at Cecilia's feet. He dis- 
tributed portions of this sacred linen to many of the 
Cardinals residing in Eome, intending to reserve the 

* Sfondrato veliementer optanti, precantique saepius aliquid 
sibi reliquiarum ejus concedi, cum exsacro corpore nemo, ac ne 
summus quidera Pontifex ob maximam reverentiam tollere ausus 
esset, ultro de eodem illi particulam benigna Virgo obtulisse ac 
donasse visa est. Bosio. Relatio invent, ct reposit, B, Cacilice* 


last piece for himself. Now it "happened that a splin- 
ter of a bone from Cecilia's head had adhered to the 
piece which fell to his lot.* Hence, when looking 
at this linen, which had been used in staunching the 
virgin's wounds, the whole scene of the caldarium 
was present to his mind. Cecilia's head, fractured 
by the three strokes of the lictor's sword ; and the 
trembling hand of some friend, who, though staunch- 
ing these large wounds with the utmost gentleness, 
could not prevent pieces of bone from coming away 
with the blood. Sfondrato preserved, as a precious 
jewel, this touching souvenir of the martyr, who had 
bequeathed it to him at the very moment when her 
sepulchre was again to be closed. He also wished as 
a last consolation, to retain a fragment of Cecilia's 
clothing. Without touching her silk tunic, he cut 
off a small piece of her dress. It was probably at 
this time that he discovered the secret of Cecilia's 
penance ; for he declares that he felt upon her breast, 
through her clothes, the knots of the hair shirt, which 
like strong armor, had protected the virgin in her 
combats, and which now shared her honors. f 

* Nam cum ex linteaminibus tinctis sanguine, quae ad pedes 
jacebant (sacra etenim ossa nee ipse quoque tangere audebat) 
non nihil idem Cardinalis recidere vellet, quorum plerisque 
aliis purpuratis Patribus particulce divisas fuerunt, ad cam 
quam sibi recidebat partem sorte adluerescens virginei oranii 
fragmentum accessit ; de quo conjici potest, quod oervici proxi- 
muin esset ad triplicem ictum carniiicis pene reoisum fuisse ; ita 
ut facile cum ejusdem vulnera linteaminibus illis, quemadmo- 
dum in historia traditur, a fidelibus abstergerentur, ipsa abster- 
sione in eis attralii, atque auferri contigerit, Bosio. lulntio, etc 

f Bed et quemadmodum ipse Cardinalis se animadvert isst> tcs- 
tatiir, sub aureis vestibua rigidum oilioii tegmen propiua Baoria 
ossibus hajrescons latubat, do quo ita Acta passionis ejusdem 


We have said that the head of St. Tiburtius had been 
placed by Paschal in a casket, at the time of the first 
Invention, in 821. Sfondrato, before closing the 
tomb of the three martyrs, took away the heads of 
Valerian and Maximus, that they might be exposed 
in the Virgin's Basilica, with that of Tiburtius, to 
the veneration of the faithful. Cecilia's coffin, as we 
have said, was placed in a hall, situated at the upper 
extremity of the left nave of the church, and could 
be seen through a grated window which opened into 
the Basilica. The platform and coffin were covered 
with rich silk drapery, embroidered with gold. 
Handsome candelabras, numerous lamps, gold and 
silver flowers, added to the magnificence of the deco- 
rations. No perfumes were burned near the body, 
because, as the reliable author from whom we gather 
these details, tells us, a delightful odor of roses and 
lilies, proceeding from the coffin, embalmed the sanc- 
tuary in which it was placed. 

Eome was in a tumult of joy at the news of so many 
miracles. Two months had not yet elapsed since the 
execution of the celebrated Beatrice Cenci, and the 
emotions excited on that terrible day had not entirely 
subsided. More pleasing impressions were about to 
succeed those which had so violently agitated the 
city on the 11th of September, when the Pontiff', in 
his justice, ordered the execution of this beautiful 
and noble Eoman lady. Never was a more striking 
contrast offered to the sympathies of this ardent 
people. Beatrice, expiating under the repeated blows 

commemorant : Ccecilia vero subtus ad camera v.ilicio induta 
desuper auro textis vestibus tcgebatur. Bosio. Relatio invent, et 
reposit. B. Caciliic. 


of the executioner's axe, the parricide of which she 
had been guilty, and imploring pardon of Heaven in 
the presence of an immense crowd, which, infatuated 
with her beauty, clamorously demanded her release; 
Cecilia, innocent and pure, also struck several times 
by the lictor's sword, camly expiring, surrounded by 
her faithful friends, and leaving behind her a memory 
of imperishable sweetness. 

This double scene must have presented itself a 
thousand times to the imagination of the Eoman 
people, and if the death of Beatrice taught them how 
a repentant sinner can die, Cecilia's death proved 
how sweetly a soul, enamored with the love of Christ, 
hastens to meet him, rejoicing in the cruel torments 
of martyrdom. During the days which elapsed be- 
fore the Translation, the concourse of people was 
very great. It became even necessary to call upon 
the Pontifical Swiss guard to maintain order in the 
midst of this outpouring of the Eoman people upon 
the trans- Tiberian region. More than once, SIbndrato, 
who seemed to have taken up his abode in Cecilia's 
house, was almost crushed by the crowd. 

The young patricians and Roman princesses 
hastened to pay their homage to one who had over- 
come all worldly seductions; but nothing could 
equal the joy of the nuns of St. Cecilia's monastery, 
the guardians of this precious treasure. They 
scarcely knew how to testily their gratitude at 
having been permitted to gaze upon her body; but 

by prayers, chants, and tears, endeavored to assure 

Cecilia of the happiness caused by her presence in 
their midst. Nearly all the Cardinals came to veuer- 


ate the Spouse of Christ, and Clement VIII., having 
at length recovered his health, hastened from Fras- 
cati, to prostrate himself at her feet. Baronius has 
thus related the interviews between Urban's suc- 
cessor and the great martyr of the third century. 

Clement, accompanied by the Cardinals, repaired 
to the Church of St. Cecilia to visit and venerate the 
sacred remains of this Virgin Martyr. The cover of 
the coffin having been removed, the Pontiff saw and 
venerated this body, worthy of the respect of angels. 
He offered it a homage, far more valuable than gold 
or precious stones; — prayers poured forth from an 
overflowing heart, and tears of the tenderest emotion.* 
He then celebrated the Sacrifice of Mass in honor of 
the Martyr, and declared his intention of solemnizing 
her approaching feast with all possible devotion. 

* Ubi cum adesset, (Clemens), educto aperculo cupressinse 
illius capsae, veneranduin quoque Auigelis sanctissiniae ipsius 
corpus iis quae diximus (ut positum fuerat a Paschali Pontifice) 
opertum velis vidit, et veneratus est, atque ei tunc quam sciret 
omni auro, gemmisque esse gratiorem oblationem, preces ob- 
tulit, una cum lacrymis oblationis cordis indicibus. Baronius, ad 
an. 8-1, n° xxv. 

The Pontiff's emotion on contemplating Cecilia's body, h an 
additional example of that sensibility of which he gave many 
touching proofs throughout his life. These tears of a stern old 
man, whose soul was nevertheless full of tenderness, recall his 
heart-breaking distress when forced to condemn the Cenci to 
death. He absented himself from Rome on the day when Bea- 
trice, her mother-in-law, and her brother, were to be executed. 
Three discharges of cannon announced to him that these guilty 
heads were about to fall under the sword of justice. The con- 
demned knew that at this moment the Pontiff would extend 
his hand to give them the Apostolic Indulgence for the hour 
of death. No sooner was this paternal act accomplished, than 
Clement VIII., fell senseless into the arms of his prelates. 


But Clement should be particularly admired for his 
extreme modesty ; he would not consent to raise the 
silken veil which enveloped the Virgin. The blood 
which discolored the tomb, recalled too vividly that 
chaste blush which is the guardian of virginal modesty. 
He was quite satisfied with seeing the Virgin's body 
through the veil which covered it, and with reading 
the characters engraven near the sepulchre and pre- 
served through so many centuries, by a dispensation 
of Providence ; in a word, with finding every thing 
conformable to Paschal's document.* Clement after- 
wards venerated his holy predecessors, Urban and 
Lucius, and the martyrs Valerian, Tiburtius, and 
Maximus, whose tombs were opened for a moment in 
his presence. 

The Pontiff' would not be outdone in generosity by 
a Cardinal, and he therefore determined to offer 
Cecilia on the day of her Translation, a present 
worthy of her and of the Apostolic See. As soon as 
he had heard at Frascati, from Sfondrato and Ba- 
ronius, the report of the discovery, he felt that it was 
his duty to prove in some way, his veneration 
towards the Virgin. At first, he resolved upon 
ordering a gold casket to contain the Martyr's body; 
but the two Cardinals dissuaded him, representing 
to him that so rich an object, beneath an altar, 

* Sed ejus plurimnm in eo commendata modestia fait quod in- 
vitatus licet, noluit reductis velis, nudum Virginia corpus quan- 
tumlibet exsiccatum inspicere, cui esse videretur loco ruboris 
eustodi.s verecundiae vir^inalis, sanguis aspersus ; Batia ad (idem 
esse scions, membra singula cognovisse persupposita vela, atque 
vidisse a praedecessore inscripta Bepulohro atque descripta diplo- 
mats signacula illcesa reperta, atque divinitus oonservata Uosio. 
liclatio invent t et r epos it, 11. Ctectfue. 


might excite cupidity. Clement, therefore, decided 
upon a silver casket, in the form of a tomb, suffi- 
ciently large to hold the cypress coffin. 

The silversmith, charged with the commission, 
was ordered to finish and present his work to the 
Pope before the day appointed for the Translation. 
He used two hundred and fifty-one pounds of silver, 
and his price for his work and materials, was four 
thousand three hundred and eighty gold crowns. The 
casket was lined with purple silk ; the exterior 
being studded with stars which gave it the appear- 
ance of a new heaven, according to the poetical 
expression of Baronius, who compares the artist to 
Beseleel, the divinely inspired fabricator of the Ark 
of Alliance and the Golden Candlestick.* 

The design was quite simple, f four golden cheru- 
bim were placed upon the corners of the upper part 
of the casket. The arms of Clement VIII. with the 
tiara and keys, all richly gilt, were in relievo on the 
sides. This immense coffin was hermetically closed. 
The lid bore this inscription. 




Whilst admiring this magnificent silver casket, 
our thoughts naturally revert to the elegant, large, 

* In qua elaboranda, instar Beselelielis inspirati divimtus eni- 
tuit industria excellentis opificis, qui veluti alterum ccelam cor- 
pori, cujus esset incoelo anima, fabricans, thecam illam stelli3 
auri fulgore micantibus exornavit. Baronius, ad. an. 821, n° xxv. 

t See the design in Bosio. page 168. 

t The body of St. Cecilia. Virgin and Martyr, entombed here 
by Clement VIII. in the year 1599, the 8th of his Pontificate. 


but empty sarcophagus of Cecilia Metella, left with- 
out honor under the portico of a palace. This 
wealthy lady had tasted of all the pleasures offered 
by the world to its favorites, the monument erected 
to her memory by Crassus, her husband, had for 
centuries ornamented the Appian Way; but the 
name of Cecilia Metella will never make the heart 
throb; no one has ever expressed the slightest 
anxiety respecting the fate of the bones which once 
reposed in this sepulchre, now a mere object of 
curiosity, whereas, the Christian Cecilia was sought 
for with care in the vaults of the Catacombs, and 
saluted with enthusiasm each time that her mortal 
remains were brought to the light of day. The con- 
trast between the two Cecilias is still more strikingly 
shown by the symbols upon their sepulchres. The 
sarcophagus of Cecilia Metella is exposed to the 
inclemencies of the weather, its decorations awaken 
no sentiment of piety in the soul. Two horses' 
heads spring from the centre of the undulating 
channels which adorn the tomb ; the upper part is 
decorated with a severe and graceful frieze, sur- 
mounted by foliage, under the shade of which some 
animals are sporting; nothing to suggest the hope 
of immortality, or even a pious thought ; it is mere 
paganism in all its elegant coldness. 

What a contrast to the tomb of the Christian 
Cecilia! If Urban, in his paternal tenderness, could 
only offer the Virgin and her narrow collin, an 
honorable cell excavated in the * soft stone of the 
Callistus Cemetery, Paschal prepared for her a mar- 
ble sarcophagus ; and although he buried her in a 


crypt under the altar of the Basilica, he enriched 
the latter with elegant monuments, and took care 
that posterity should know that beneath the sump- 
tuous altar, Cecilia was resting in peace. Eight 
centuries later, Clement VIII. deemed a marble 
tomb unworthy of the cypress coffin; prudence for- 
bade his encasing it in gold ; he therefore ordered a 
silver casket to be prepared for the Christian daugh- 
ter of the Cecilii. No vain ornaments enrich this 
casket ; its decorations all speak to the beholder of 
the life beyond the grave. Angels, whose presence 
reminds us of Cecilia's angelic purity; brilliant 
gold stars, emblematic of heaven ; the tiara and 
keys, proving the humble and tender respect of the 
Head of the Church to the virgin and martyr ; such 
are the emblems which adorn Cecilia's tomb and 
render it far preferable, in the eyes of Christians, to 
the beautiful sarcophagus of Cecilia Metella. With 
the artist and archaeologist, we admire the latter, as 
one of the most remarkable among the monuments, 
erected by the ancient Eomans ; but the silver casket, 
containing the body of St. Cecilia, speaks to our 
heart, and teaches us lessons which Christians alone 
can understand and fully appreciate. 

The sarcophagus, formerly prepared by St. Paschal, 
was too small to contain both the coffin and casket; 
Sfondrato therefore ordered a new white marble se- 
pulchre to be substituted for the old one. The two 
sarcophagi, containing, one the bodies of Saints Ti- 
burtius, Valerian, and Maximus, the other, the holy 
Popes Urban and Lucius, were left in the same 
place in the Confession, the relics not being disturbed, 


with the exception of the two heads of which we 
have spoken, and a few bones which Sfondrato took 
away from each of these venerable bodies. He sent 
the wooden box, in which the cypress coffin had been 
enclosed from the day of its Invention to that of the 
Translation, to the monastery of St. Paul at Milan ; 
where two of his sisters and several other members 
of his family, had consecrated themselves to God. 



The 22d of November at last arrived, and was 
greeted by the Eomans with the greatest enthusiasm, 
their joy being sensibly increased by the rumor of 
the numerous miracles* which Cecilia had wrought 
since the recent discovery of her body. In order to 
avoid accidents, a papal edict was published, forbid- 
ding the driving of carriages through the trans-Ti- 
berian region, on the morning of the Translation. 
The Basilica was adorned with magnificence worthy 
of such a festival. The body of Cecilia, in her 
cypress coffin, covered with a drapery of cloth of 
gold, rested upon the altar, which had been enlarged 
for the occasion. The light of a thousand torches 
was reflected in the beautiful marble columns of the 
ciborium, and in the enamel of Paschal's mosaics. 
Clement VIII. escorted by tne Sacred College ard an 
immense crowd arrived at the gates of Cecilia's pal- 

* Bosio. Relatio inventionis. S. Ccrcilur, page 103. 


ace. He immediately repaired to the sacristy, where 
he blessed the casket; this was then carried to the 
crypt, and laid open upon the white marble sarcopha- 
gus, which was resting upon the tomb of Popes Ur- 
ban and Lucius. Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus 
awaited Cecilia, who was soon to resume her place 
near them. The procession advanced towards the 
altar, where the Holy .sacrifice of the Mass was to be 
offered. Forty-two Cardinals, richly robed and 
mitred, followed the Prelates. In this august 
body, were Alexander de Medicis, who was destined 
to govern the Church after Clement, under the name 
of Leo XL ; Camille Borghese, who succeeded Leo, 
as Paul V. ; Caesar Baronius, the historian of the 
Church; Eobert Bellarmin, the conqueror of heresy, 
who was one day to be placed on our altars. France 
was represented by d'Qssat ; Literature, by Silvio 
Antoniani ; Faith, Piety, and Charity to the poor, by 
the dignitaries of the Church, among whom Paul 
Emilius Sfondrato was the centre of attraction. 

Clement, robed in his cope, and crowned with 
the tiara, followed the Cardinals, walking under a 
splendid canopy, supported by the ambassadors of 
the Eepublic of Venice, and of the Duke of Savoy, 
and by Eoman princes. 

The French ambassador held up the cope, when 
the Pontiff descended from the sedla gestatoria, and 
directed his steps to the altar. The Holy Sacrifice 
was celebrated with all the ceremonies used at St. 
Peter's, when the Pontiff* officiates. The assistant 
deacons were Cardinal Francis Sforza, and Cardinal 
Alexander de Montalto, a nephew of Sixtus V., 


whilst Cardinal Peter Aldobrandini, Clement's nephew, 
filled the functions of deacon of the altar. The 
Pope added the Collect of LUa. 'l lburtius, Valerian, 
and Maximus, to that of Cecilia. 

After the communion, according to the ancient 
custom, they proceeded to the Translation of Cecilia's 
body. Sfondrato descended first into the Presbyte- 
rium, to be in readiness to receive the Virgin and the 
Pontiff', at their entrance into the crypt. After the 
Pope had incensed the body three times, four Cardi- 
nal Deacons, Odoard Farnese. Antonio Facchinetti, 
Peter Aldobrandini, and Bartholomew Cesi, raised 
the cypress coffin from the altar, and, preceded by 
deacons bearing the cross and seven gold candle- 
sties, descended into the subterranean vault of the 
Confession. During the ceremony, Clement laid his 
hand on Cecilia's coffin, as if to take direct part in 
the Translation. The members of the Sacred Col- 
lege surrounded the Pontiff, and the choir chanted 
the following anthem: 

"0, beata Cgecilia, quae Almachium superasti, Ti- 
burtium et Valerianum ad martyr ii coronam vo- 
casti P* 

The distance between the altar and the tomb was 
very short. Clement, assisted by the deacons, de- 
posited the virgin's coffin in the silver casket, and 
then, receiving from Sfondrato a plate of the same 
metal, upon which was engraved an account of this 
last Translation, he placed it in the inside of the 
casket. Finally, after again incensing the precious 

* Happy Cecilia ! Thou didst triumph over Ahnachius ; Thou 
didst call Tiburtius and Valerian to the crown of martyrdom. 



relics three times, the Pontiff prostrated himself, and 
with abundant tears and fervent prayers, bade adieu 
to Cecilia in the name of the Church ; he then closed 
the casket, and sealed, with his own seal, the marble 
slab which was placed over the sarcophagus ; and 
then, preceded and followed by his imposing retinue 
he returned to the altar, where he recited the con- 
cluding prayers of the Holy Sacrifice, and gave his 
apostolic benediction to the people, who crowded the 
church, the porch, and the adjacent squares and 
streets. The concourse of the faithful continued 
until night ; the day had been lovely ; the air balmy 
as that of spring. Such weather, extraordinary for 
the month of November, was the more remarkable, 
as the preceding days had been cold and rainy. * 

The following is the inscription, engraven upon 
the silver plate presented by Sfondrato to be enclosed 
in the silver casket. 

" Hie requiescit corpus S. Caeciliae. Virginis et 
Marty ris, quod a Paschali primo Pontifice Maximo 
ipsa revelante repertum, et in hanc Ecclesiam transla- 
tum, et sub hoc altari una cum corporibus SS. Mar- 
tyrum Lucii et Urbani Pontificum, nee non Yaleriani, 
Tiburtii et Maximi reconditum, 

Iterum post annos fere DCCO. Clemente VIII., 
Pont. Max. cum iisdem Sanctis Martyribus lucem 
adspexit, die xx. Octobris, anno Dominicae Incarna- 
tionis M. D. IC. Cujus S. Virginis corpus prasdictus 

* At populi frequentia deinceps ad nocteni usque affluere non 
destitit, ccelo ipso obsecundante, quod, cum foedis imbribus per 
dies proximos exundasset, eo die ita placidum ac serenum afiul- 
sit, ut hybernus rigor in vernam temperiem versus esse videre- 
tur. Bosio. Relatio inventionis corporis B. Ccecilice, page 167. 


D. N. Papa Clemens veteri lignea capsa, in qua jace- 
bat, argentese inclusa, intactum immutatumque, hoe 
eodem loco in quo fuerat collocatum, post peracta 
Missarum solemnia, maxima cum devotione et lachry- 
mis, toto spectante populo, reposuit, xxn. Novembris, 
ipso festo Virginis die M. D. IC. 

Ad cujus latus in alia seorsum capsa praedicti tres 
Martyres, Valerianus, Tiburtius et Maximus requies- 
cunt ; nee non sub ipso Virginis corpore in alia simi- 
liter area praedicti duo Martyres, ac Pontifices Lu- 
cius et Urbanus, prout a Paschali Pontifice omnes in 
iis conditi sunt. 

Ego Paulus Tituli S. Caecilse S. E. B. Presbyter 
Cardinalis Sfondratus, cui licet miserrimo peccatori 
praedicta corpora, quae diuturnitate temporis fere in 
tenebris jacebant, et invenire, et videre, et venerari 
a Deo Optimo Max. datum est memoriam hanc hisce 
litteris, consignavi. Anno Dominicae Incarnationis 
M. D. IC. die xxn. Novembris, sedente Clemente 
VIII. summo Pontifice, ejusdem Pontificatus anno 

* Here reposes the body of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr, 
discovered by Pope Paschal I. who transferred it. to this Church, 
and buried it under this altar, with the bodies of the Holy Martyrs, 
Lucius and Urban, Popes ; Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus. 
Nearly eight centuries after, under the pontificate of Clement 
VIII., the body of this holy Virgin was again discovered on the 
20th of October, a.d. 1599, together with those of the same holy 
martyrs. On the 22d of November, the same Pope, Clement the 
VIII., after solemnly celebrating the Holy Sacrifice 04 the Mass, 
restored, in presence of the people, and with great devotion and 
many tears, the Virgin's body to the place it formerly OCOUpied. 
He enclosed the coffin in a silver casket, and did not permit the 
body to be disturbed. In an adjoining tomb, the three martyrs 
Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus repose. Beneath the Virgin's 


This short account, engraven upon a silver plate, 
buried in St. Cecilia's tomb, was not sufficient for 
posterity. The learned explorer of subterranean 
Rome, Antonio Bosio, determined to commemorate 
the last Translation of the Virgin's body, by publish- 
ing a new edition of the Acts of St. Cecilia. After 
having carefully collated the manuscripts of the 
Basilica with those of the Vatican Library, of St. 
Peter's Chapter, and of the Colonna Palace, he pub- 
lished in the next year a new edition of the Acts, 
accompanied with a number of notes. Ecclesiastical 
archaeology has doubtless made much progress since 
the time of Bosio, but this great man certainly merits 
to share with Baronius, the glory of having been one 
of the first to open the path of Christian erudition, 
and of having been rarely surpassed therein. 

Bosio added to the Acts of St. Cecilia, the famous 
document of Paschal, which he enriched with many 
important notes. He concluded his work with a 
description of the last discovery of Cecilia and her 
companions, and the ceremonies observed at the second 
Translation. Bosio declares that he either witnessed 
himself, or heard from Sfondrato's lips, all the facts 
which he relates.* This work appeared in Rome, 

body, and in another tomb, are the two martyrs, Popes Lucius 
and Urban, in the very spot, where they were buried by Pope 
Paschal. I, Paul Sfondrato, Cardinal Priest of the Holy Roman 
Church, Titulary of Saint Cecilia, to whom although such a 
miserable sinner, Almighty God deigned to grant the favor of 
discovering, beholding, and venerating this holy body, which 
time seemed to have buried in darkness, — I have drawn up this 
inscription in remembrance of this event. The year of Our Lord, 
1599, the 221 of November, under Pope Clement the VIII.— in 
the eighth year of his pontificate. 

* Hsec sunt, quas in postrema corporis B. Coeciliae Virginis, 


in 1600, with a dedication to the Cardinal, who him- 
self wrote an attestation, by which he certified Bosio's 
exactitude in the collation of the manuscripts, and his 
strict adherence to truth in his account of the dis- 
covery of the holy bodies.* 



The few details left us by Paschal concerning the 
first discovery of Cecilia's body, all tend to prove 
the truth of her Acts ; these are now confirmed be- 
yond all doubt by the circumstances attending the 
second discovery of the martyr's precious remains. 
First, we shall remark that the position of Cecilia's 
body is very different from that of any other martyr 
found in Eome or elsewhere. But when we recall 
the manner and circumstances of her death, as related 
in her Acts, the reason of this difference is obvious. 

Sociorumque Martyrum detectione, ac solemni repositione acta 
sunt, prout cum oculis nostris nos ipsi conspexirnus, turn ex ip- 
sius Cardinalis Sfondrati, qui his omnibus diligenter astitit, ao 
praefuit, fideli relatione cognovimus. Bosio. Relatio Invent, et 
Reposit. corporis S. Cazcilice, page 170. 

* Nos Paulus Tituli S. Cacciliae S. R. E. Presbyter Cardinalis 
Sfondratus, lias Sanctissimae Virginis Caecilia?, ejusque Sociorum 
vitas ex quamplurimis, iisque vetutissimis codicibus integraa ab 
Antonio Bosio excerptas fuisse, necnon qua? do invent ione Corpo- 
rum eorumdem Sanctorum ab ipso rcfcruntur, omnia ftdeliter, 
sincere, atque ad veritatom conscripta esse testamur. 



As she lies there in her sarcophagus, we easily re- 
cognize the Koman virgin, expiring on the floor of 
her own pa] ace, shrinking with virginal modesty 
from the gaze of those who came in crowds to witness 
her triumphal death. Secondly, Sfondrato bears 
witness to the hair shirt mentioned in the Acts, as 
the armor with which the heroic virgin shielded her- 
self from the seductions of an effeminate world. "We 
say nothing of the gold-embroidered robe and the 
bloody linen, for these are expressly mentioned in 
Paschal's document. Thirdly, the stature of the 
Saint, as determined in 1599, is a fresh pr^oof of the 
correctness of her Acts. Bosio declares that her 
body, as it lay in the cypress coffin, measured only 
four feet. Of course allowance must be made for the 
contraction of the limbs produced by pain and by 
time, also for the position of the body, the knees being 
slightly drawn up; but with all these allowances, 
Cecilia's stature must have been below the middle 
height. This accounts for her having been forced 
to mount on a marble stand, when addressing the 
soldiers of Almachius, that she might be heard by 
all; it also accounts for the first exclamation of Al- 
machius when she was brought before his tribunal : 
11 Who art thou, child ?" (puella). But it is not only 
in what concerns St. Cecilia that the discovery of 
1599 attests the minute fidelity of the Acts. These 
relate that Valerian and Tiburtius were beheaded. 
Now one of the sarcophagi contained the bodies of 
two martyrs who had evidently suffered death by 
the headman's axe. The Acts state .that Almachius 
was puzzled with regard to the respective tfges of the 


brothers, and thirteen centuries later, their skeletons 
were so strikingly alike that it would have been 
impossible to distinguish one from the other, if each 
body had not been wrapt in a separate shroud. The 
Acts relate that Maximus was not beheaded, but 
beaten to death with loaded whips ; now, in 1599, 
the head of this martyr was found adhering to the 
body, his skull fractured, and his hair clotted with 
blood, thus proving by what kind of torment he 
gained his heavenly crown. There is still another 
circumstance of the greatest importance in this de- 
monstration of the Acts of Saint Cecilia by archaeo- 
logical details. Our readers have not forgotten the 
oratory, opening upon one of the lateral naves of the 
Basilica, on the right, as you enter the Church, and 
designated under the name of St. Cecilia's Bath. 
This sanctuary, which from time immemorial, had 
been considered as an appendage of the Church, 
and honored with a private altar, was a monument 
of the kind of martyrdom suffered by the Saint, 
according to her Acts. The existence of this sanc- 
tuary moreover supports the assertion contained in 
these Acts that St. Cecilia in dying bequeathed her 
house to Pope St. Urban, to be converted into a 
Basilica. There is no question here of one of those 
public baths, established near some of the churches 
in Eome and elsewhere, which were used by the 
faithful for certain mysterious ablutions. This was 
a sudatorium, used for vapor baths, totally different 
from those taken by the Christians of the first cen- 
turies in the sacred Thermae of the ohurohes, More- 
over, this oratory was constantly honored by the 


faithful. If we admit the veracity of the Acts, this 
veneration is easily understood, and becomes a fresh 
proof of the event which it commemorates. In the 
course of time, the primitive character of this oratory 
was totally destroyed by the numerous repairs made 
at different periods ; so much so, that a few years 
before the discovery of Cecilia's tomb, a Christian 
archaeologist writing in Eome, expressed some doubts 
as to the truth of the tradition which specifies this 
sanctuary as the caldarium where the virgin had 
suffered martyrdom. 

Sfondrato determined to restore this venerable 
place to its antique form, and ancient honors. Whilst 
superintending the repairing and embellishing of the 
Basilica, he ordered a search to be made under the 
floor of this chapel which was found to be built upon 
a vault. Shortly after, the hypocaust of a bath was 
discovered. The apertures which had been closed, 
were easily re-opened, and a large boiler was found, 
with the remains of a leaden pipe, through which the 
vapor had formerly ascended to the caldarium. 
Sfondrato disposed the decorations of the chapel in 
such a manner that the destruction of a memorial so 
dear to his piety, should henceforth be an impossi- 
bility. He caused iron gratings to be placed over 
the openings, through which the pilgrims could look 
into the hypocaust and distinguish the boiler which 
had escaped the ravages of time. He cleared the 
terra cotta pipes through which the vapor had passed, 
as well as a leaden pipe, which, like the former, was 
carried above the floor of the room ; both were pro- 
tected by brass plates fastened to the wall. Nothing 


was neglected to restore this venerable monument to 
its original form — that of a sudatorium, the dimen- 
sions of which were much smaller than those of the 
ancient public hot baths, but in perfect accordance 
with the private dwelling to which it had belonged.* 

We have before mentioned that Sfondrato pre- 
served, until his death, the small splinter of bone 
which he had found adhering to the piece of linen 
with which Cecilia's wound had been staunched. He 
bequeathed it to his dear Basilica, and we have had 
the happiness of holding in our hands this precious 
pledge of the martyr's gratitude to her faithful ser- 
vant. It is enclosed in a very elegant reliquary, 
bronze gilt, in the form of a tower. It stands upon 
a pedestal and is set with crystals. 

In reviewing all these circumstances, brought to 
light, and certified so many centuries after the events 
to which they refer, is it not evident that they form 
a most imposing demonstration in favor of the Acts 
of St. Cecilia? 

Would not such important archa3ological discov- 
eries be more than sufficient to banish all doubt 
respecting the truth of any recital handed down to 
us by antiquity ? Would not all the academicians 
of Europe agree in acquitting its author of the charge 

* Platner and Bunsen find no difficulty in recognizing in this 
chapel the Bath where Cecilia expired (Besohreibnng der Btadt 

Rom. Tome iii. 3re partie, pages 04:5 and 0*44.) The fact of their 
not seeing the boiler in the hypocaust, can be explained only 
by an error which they might have easily avoided. The room 
communicated with the furnace by two apertures ; the boiler 
could only ho Been through that on the right. These learned 
Germans may only have examined it through the aperture OB 
the left, and seeing nothing, may have discontinued their search. 


of falsehood brought against him ? Would they not 
be unanimous in condemning preceding generations 
for their injustice towards an author whose recital 
they had taken no pains to verify? Such has been 
the justification of the Acts of St. Cecilia. Their 
truth has been incontestably proved by the great 
discoveries of which we have spoken. 



The fervent piety of Sfondrato and his success in 
discovering Cecilia's tomb, inspired him, some years 
later, with the thought of trying to find the body of 
St. Agnes in her Basilica outside the walls, on the 
Nomentana road. 

Martyred at the age of thirteen, under the Empe- 
ror Diocletian, about seventy years after the death 
of St. Cecilia, Agnes shares with her the homages 
of Home and of Catholicity. Sfondrato was destined 
to discover this new treasure, and to prepare a 
worthy triumph for this heroic child whose pure life 
and courageous death place her upon a level with 
the daughter of the Cecilii. 

Clement VIII. had yielded his great soul to God. 
The pontificate of his successor, Leo XL, was very 
short, and in 1605, the Apostolic Senate confided the 
destinies of the Church to the powerful and faithful 
hands of Paul V. Scarcely was the Conclave over, 


when Sfondrato who had generously determined to 
restore at his own expense the Basilica of St. Agnes, 
commenced his work ; he would not however permit 
the architects to begin, until he himself had directed 
a search for the relics of the holy martyr. 

On Friday, the 7th of October, 1605, he repaired 
to the Church of St. Agnes, accompanied by the 
Chevalier Sasso-Ferrato, a gentleman of his house- 
hold, and brother Nicostrato, an oblate of the monas- 
tery of St. Peter, in Vincoli The presence of the 
latter was necessary, as the Nomentana Basilica was 
a dependency of the monastery of St. Peter. Sfon- 
drato had considered it most probable that the main 
altar of the Basilica covered the bodies of Saints 
Agnes and Emerentiana, her foster-sister, and, like 
her, a virgin and martyr. He presumed that Hono- 
rius I. had deposited the sacred remains of both 
saints in this place. 

The altar was lined with slabs of white marble, 
artistically inserted, one into the other, and the upper 
part was covered with a large plate of porphyry, which 
had not been removed since the seventh century. 
The face of the altar, on the side of the grand nave, 
was remarkable for the fenestella destined to receive 
the lamps which burned in honor of the Saints ; the 
other side, facing the apsis, was covered with a solid 
slab of marble ; and this^ Sfondrato decided to re- 

After taking away the slab of porphyry which 
covered the altar, the workmen endeavored to re- 
move the marble tablet which was laid vertically on 
the side of the heini cycle. It was only after repeated 


efforts that they succeeded in taking away enough 
cement to enable them to discern several white 
marble tablets arranged as if to protect some pre- 
cious relic under the altar. Encouraged by the 
prospect of success, the workmen labored with in- 
creasing diligence, and before the end of the day, 
reached the tomb, which was built like a vault. But 
the marble slabs were joined with such strong cement, 
that it was almost impossible to break it. They 
were obliged to bore several places with instruments 
suited for the purpose. Through the apertures thus 
made, they were enabled, with the assistance of a 
light, to distinguish the bodies of the two virgins, 
lying side by side, under the little vault which was 
about five feet long. Night interrupted their labor. 
Sfondrato and his companions, after returning thanks 
to God for their success, retired, with the resolution 
of resuming their search the next morning. 

The following day, Saturday, 8th of October, the 
Cardinal returned to the Basilica with the same per- 
sons. They were accompanied by Stephen Benassai, 
his auditor, Father Felix Veronico, Curate of 
the church of St. Lawrence in Damaso, and a gentle- 
man from Modena, named Crigino. By some fortu- 
nate circumstance, Cardinal Aquaviva visited the 
Basilica towards evening, and thus another impor- 
tant witness was added to the number already present, 
as if to render the Invention of the sacred bodies 
still more solemn. 

Intelligent and skilful workmen had been em- 
ployed, but the cement was so solid that they were 
obliged to labor from two o'clock in the afternoon, 


until two o'clock at night, before they could open a 
sufficiently large space to enable them to reach the 

Finally, all obstacles being removed, Sfondrato 
was enabled to feast his eyes upon the eagerly 
longed-for treasure The martyrs were each laid 
upon a tablet of white marble, supported at either 
end upon an iron bar. These tablets, which had 
been thus raised from the ground, to prevent the 
effects of humidity, had been also pierced with a 
number of holes, in order to give access to the air. 
Three other tablets, similar to the first, were elevated 
by iron bars above the holy bodies. The well- 
cemented marble vault had protected this glorious 
sepulchre for a thousand years. 

The two virgins were lying on their backs, and 
turned towards the East, according to the Christian 
custom. The bones, which had rested directly upon 
the marble, had remained solid and joined ; but the 
other bones had crumbled into dust. Near the 
figure on the right, they discovered a small quantity 
of some substance which they easily recognized as 
the coagulated remains of the blood collected by the 
faithful. This enabled them to distinguish Agnes 
from her companion. They also discovered near the 
two bodies, a little earth, which had doubtless been 
impregnated with their blood, and on this account, 
placed in their sepulchre. Some fragments of a light 
silken texture were found, which were evidently 
remnants of their veils. 

Although the night was already far advanced, 
Sfondrato thought it would be very imprudent to 




leave these holy relics exposed to the indiscreet 
curiosity of those who would not fail to hasten to the 
Basilica the next morning, to see the result of the 
work which had been going on for two days. He 
had previously ordered a wooden box lined with 
purple silk embroidered with gold. With the assist- 
ance of his auditor and Father Felix Veronico, he 
deposited in this box the bones which had remained 
entire, carefully distinguishing the precious remains 
of the two martyrs. This operation required great 
precaution, for the bones would have crumbled into 
dust, if not very delicately handled. The box being 
closed and sealed, was carried to an inner chapel of 
the monastery adjoining the Basilica, and covered 
with drapery. The dust of the bones, the remains 
of coagulated blood, and the earth of which we have 
spoken, were> carefully collected and placed in two 
beautiful antique vases which Sfondrato had brought 
for the purpose. One urn was consecrated to Agnes, 
the other to Emerentiana."* 

Such were the circumstances attending the Inven- 
tion of the body of St. Agnes. The reader will 
readily perceive that in many points it differs from 
the discovery of St. Cecilia's tomb. The precious 
remains of the Virgin Agnes had already partly suf- 
fered the common fate which condemns the body of 
man to return to the dust of which it was originally 
formed ; the mortal remains of Cecilia were preserved 
intact in her sepulchre. The virgin who suffered 

* An interesting account of this Invention may be found in 
Boldetti. Ossereazioni. sopra. i., Cimiterj de Santi Martiri, pages 



martyrdom under Alexander Severus, could easily ' 
be recognized by the description given in her Acts ; 
whereas the virgin, executed by command of Dio- 
cletian, could only be identified by means of antique 
documents which gave reason to suppose that Pope 
Honorius had buried her under the altar of the No- 
mentana Basilica. 

We do not wish by this comparison to detract 
from the glory of the illustrious Agnes, whose 
memory is dear to us, and to whom we should be 
most happy to consecrate a biography worthy of her; 
but we cannot refrain from pointing out the prefer- 
ence shown by heaven for the daughter of the Ce- 
cilii. Did she not herself reveal to Paschal that the 
Queen of Heaven watched over her forgotten tomb ? 

And if we would discover the motive of Mary's 
vigilance over Cecilia's remains, do we not find it in 
the ineffable resemblance between the Spouse of Va- 
lerian and the Spouse of Joseph, both having given 
the world the sublime example of virginity in the 
married state? The body of Mary, exempt from 
original sin, sanctified by the Divine Maternity, was 
assumed into heaven amidst choirs of angels ; the 
body of Cecilia, participating in our fallen nature, 
but elevated by the immortal virtue of purity, re- 
mained thirteen centuries in the bowels of the earth 
without suffering dissolution. Let us return thanks 
to the heavenly Spouse who protected His beloved 
even in the tomb; and let us glorify the Queen of 
Virgins who honored in Cecilia one of her own most 
noble prerogatives. 

Paul V. imitated the example of Clement V11I., 



and presented a silver casket to contain the relics 
of the glorious martyr whose Invention honored 
his Pontificate. Emerentiana was also placed in 
this splendid casket. The greater part of the glory 
of this new solemnity, which was far inferior to 
that offered Cecilia, was due to the exertions of the 
pious Cardinal, who seemed to have received the 
mission of presenting to the Holy City her most 
august and best beloved saints. Sfondrato was not 
satisfied with contributing to Cecilia's glory in the 
Basilica where she reposes ; he desired to give 
the other sanctuaries dedicated to the illustrious 
Virgin, proofs of his pious solicitude. He com- 
menced with the little Church of St. Cecilia de domo 
in the Campus Martius. 

This sanctuary was once a dependency of the Ba- 
silica of St. Lawrence in Damaso ; at a later period, it 
was attached to the Church of St. Lawrence in Lu- 
cina, on account of its neighborhood to the latter 
Basilica. But the divine service being carelessly 
performed, Sfondrato decided to place the church 
under the charge of two Dominican friars, for whose 
maintenance he would himself provide. After the 
Cardinal's death, Paul V. felt bound in honor to 
carry out his pious intention by Apostolic authority, 
and therefore issued a Brief, dated 23d of January, 
1622, in which after commending Sfondrato's piety 
towards* the church, he first suppressed the title of 
Saint Blaise which had been attached to this sanc- 
tuary, and then taking it from the jurisdiction of 
the Church of St. Lawrence in Lucina, subjected it 
in perpetuity to the titulary Cardinal of Saint Cecilia. 
Finally, he assigned in favor of the two Dominican 


friars, a salary of three hundred and twenty-five 
Eoman crowns, to be drawn from the revenues of 
the Abbot of " Our Lady of the Column," in the 
diocese of Piacenza.* We have spoken elsewhere 
of the Church of St. Cecilia a Monte-Giordano which 
also belonged to the Basilica of Saint Lawrence in 
Damaso. This Church was falling to ruins. Sfon- 
drato had determined to rebuild it and had laid the 
first corner stone of the new edifice on the 21st of 
June, 1602. Later, in 1621, after Sfondrato's death, 
the Oratorian Fathers of Saint Philip de Neri, wish- 
ing to enlarge their house of Vellicella, earnestly 
begged Gregory XV. to permit them to demolish 
this church which interfered with their architect's 
plans. The Pontiff granted the request on condition 
that the principal altar of the celebrated chapel, 
called the Oratory, which was to be built on the site 
of the church, should be dedicated to St. Cecilia con- 
jointly with St. Philip Neri; and that the altar 
piece should represent these two saints, the illus- 
trious Virgin being on the right. f This condition 
was faithfully complied with.- The picture was 
painted by Vanni. In the upper part, he has repre- 
sented the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. 
Every year on the 22d of November, the festival of 
St. Cecilia is celebrated as a patronal feast, and thus 
the beautiful thought of Sfondrato has been perpetu- 
ated to our day. The pious Cardinal who so zealously 
honored the memory of the Spouse of Christ, was no 
less devoted to the Queen of Heaven. We will 
illustrate this by a single incident. 

* Biblioth. Vaticane. MSS. do Galetti. Santa Cecilia. 
\ Bref Cum ad uberes, du 7 des Kalondos do Novombro. 


Having been promoted by Paul V., to the Legation 
of Bologna, his first thought was to visit and vener- 
ate the house of Loretto. In the enthusiasm of his 
respectful love for the Virgin, he mounted to the 
ebony statue which represents the Queen of this 
Holy House, and taking from his finger a magnifi- 
cent diamond ring, worth five hundred gold crowns, 
he placed it on the finger of the miraculous image. 
In returning to Eome, he passed by Loretto, and 
hung round the neck of the Madonna, a gold cross 
set with eight superb emeralds. He also desired to 
offer a worthy tribute to the divine Infant whom the 
Blessed Mother holds in her arms Before starting 
for his legation, he presented the Son with a diamond 
ring far surpassing the one he had offered to the 
Mother. He himself placed it upon the iinger of the 
Holy child, and until the spoliation of the sanctuary 
of Loretto in 1797, this diamond by its wonderful 
brilliancy attracted the admiration of all the pilgrims 
who visited the shrine.* 

In 1607, Sfondrato was called to the Bishopric of 
Cremona, in the province of Milan, which had lately 
lost its great Archbishop St. Charles. The illus- 
trious Cardinal Frederick Borromeo, nephew of the 
holy Archbishop, was faithfully imitating his uncle's 
virtues in the See of St. Ambrose. Sfondrato's arrival 
was a great consolation to Frederick, as they had both 
chosen for their model the celebrated Pontiff whose 
recent loss still deeply grieved the Church. Sfon- 
drato, to whom the city of Eome owes the beautiful 

* Ciacconius Vitce Romanorum Pontijicum at S. R. E. Cardie 
nalium. Tome iv. p. 226. 


Church of St. Charles al Corso, obtained from Fred- 
erick for this sanctuary the heart of the invinci- 
ble reformer of discipline and of Christian morals. In 
the year 1611, our pious Cardinal was recalled to 
Rome. Paul V elevated him to the Bishopric of 
Albano, and Sfondrato was obliged to leave his See of 
Cremona where his memory is still gratefully pre- 
served. As he had been appointed Titulary of one 
of the Suburbicarian Sees, he could no longer, ac- 
cording to the ordinary rule, retain the simply Pres- 
byterial Church of St. Cecilia ; but Sfondrato could 
not think of confiding to another, the precious deposit 
which the Virgin herself had given him. 

He therefore solicited and obtained from Paul V., 
as a reward for his generosity towards the trans-Ti- 
berian Basilica, the favor of retaining it, in commen- 
dam together with the Bishopric which he had been 
forced to except. 

His Administration of the Church of Albano was 
of 'short duration; but it was marked by his inex- 
haustible charity to the poor. Each year, he dis- 
tributed among them the whole of his Episcopal 
revenue, without diminishing the alms he continued 
to bestow in Rome, whither the functions of his emi- 
nent dignity frequently called him.* 

In 1614, the Roman Ritual, published by Paul V., 
completed the series of liturgical books, for the use 
of the Universal Church. The publication of this 
work had been left by the Council of Trent to the 
Sovereign Pontiff. 

* Ciacconius Vita Romanorum Pont\ficum el S» R. E* Canli- 
nulium. Tome iv. page 227. 


Catholicity owes it to Sfondrato's exertions. He 
induced Paul V., to undertake the compilation of this 
manual for the use of the priests in the administra- 
tion of the Sacraments. He was one of the most 
assiduous members of the committee appointed by 
the Pope to prepare this important work; and he 
superintended its compilation with untiring solicitude. 

Sfondrato* died at Tivoli, on the 14th of February, 
1618, in the fifty seventh year of his age. The sad 
news reached the nuns of Santa Cecilia on the morn- 
ing of the following day. Nothing can express their 
grief on hearing of this unexpected death ; we find in 
the Chronicle of the Monastery : " That several of the 
Sisters fainted, and that the dinner of that day was 

Ever constant in his love for St. Cecilia, Sfondrato 
made his will in favor of her Basilica ; he had for 
eighteen years renounced his own name, and assumed 
that of Cardinal of St. Cecilia.^ 

* Ciacconius Vitae Romanorum Pontificum et S. R. E. Cardi- 
naliuin. Tome iv. page 226. The Vatican Library is indebted to 
Sfondrato's generosity'for the valuable Greek Menology, attri- 
buted to the Emperor Basil. It was published in 1727, with 
Byzantine illustrations, at the expense of Cardinal Annibal 
Albani. It is one of the most interesting monuments of the 
Melchite Liturgy. 

f Chroniche del venerabile monasteri do Santa Cecilia. 

J In the correspondence of Cardinal d'Ossat, we find two letters 
which Sfondrato had addressed through this ambassador to Henry 
IV., and to Marie de Medicis, to obtain from France some reli«s 
for the Basilica. D'Ossat, in sending these letters, advised the 
king to address his reply to the Cardinal of St. Cecilia, because, 
he adds, he wishes to be called by this title and not by his 
surname! (Letters du Cardinal d'Ossat, 26 Aont 1602, tome iv. 
page 304). We find the same thing in a public document rela- 


Some extracts from the will of this Cardinal, will 
probably, interest our readers, as his name will 
always be united with that of St. Cecilia in the 
annals of Christianity. 

"In the first place," says Paul Emilius Sfondrato. 
" I recommend my soul with perfect submission to my 
gracious Eedeemer, Jesus Christ ; to his most Holy 
and ever Blessed Mother, the most pure Virgin Mary, 
the true advocate of sinners ; to the glorious Apostles 
Peter and Paul ; to my glorious and most faithful 
protectress, St. Cecilia; to St. Agnes, my special 
advocate ; to St. Mary Magdalen, St. Thecla, St. 
Joseph, Sts. Lucius, Urban, Valerian, Tiburtius, and 
Maximus, and all the Saints towards whom I have 
any special devotion, or who have been my protec- 
tors; that I may be found worthy of the Divine 
Mercy, and may be admitted into their society for- 
ever. I wish my body to be buried in the Church 
of my beloved St. Cecilia, in the tomb I have caused 
to be made under the Confession before the altar of 
the Saint." 

Then follow the Cardinal's directions relative to 
the religious services, and the alms to be distributed 
on the day of his funeral. After requesting the most 
simple obsequies, with merely twelve torches, he adds : 

ting to the laying of the corner stone in tho rebuilding of St. 
Cecilia's Church, a Monto Giordano. The following is an extract 
from the verbal process of this ceremony : Ob idqne Cardinalia 
Sanctae Ca3cilia), relicta propria bus nobilissima «'t antiquiasims 
familial denominatione, nuncupari eta ppeUarl volnit, amoreatque 
devotionis zelo erga eamdem Beatam CooUiam ftagrana atque 

incensus. (MSS. du Vatican, (Jalletti.) BfondratO in this 
respect followed the example of St. Charles Borromeo, who 
always signed himself Cardinal of St. IVaxrdcs, and iu'\vr Car- 
dinal Borromeo. 


" 1 appoint as my sole legatee, the Church of St. Ceci- 
lia, in the Trastevere, where her holy body reposes." 
The legacy is to be employed in the following manner. 
First of all, ninety lamps are to be kept burning day 
and night, and fed with the purest oil. Four chap- 
lains, one of whom is to have the title of guardian of 
St. Cecilia's body, are to officiate in the Basilica. 
They are to visit the chapel daily and are to be 
assisted by two clerks. Moreover, there is to be a 
layman charged with the care of the bronzes and 
marble of the Confession, as well as with the feeding 
and lighting of the lamps. The chaplains, clerks, 
and laymen, are forbidden to enter into the service 
of any other person, even though he be a Cardinal. 

Sfondrato bequeathed to his Basilica all the relics 
he had collected in its treasury. The smallest por- 
tion of these can never be removed, and each Abbess, 
on entering upon her office, is obliged to take an 
oath faithfully to observe these directions. He also 
requested that there should be three keys to the 
treasury, one of which should be entrusted to the 
Abbess, the second to the Prioress, and the third to 
the Mistress of Novices. 

The Cardinal also made other legacies to different 
persons or establishments. To the duke, his brother, 
his patrimonial estates ; to his cathedral church of 
Albano, all his pontifical ornaments and all his sil- 
ver church vessels; to the Madonna of Loretto, a 
gold heart worth one hundred crowns, and " I wish," 
he adds, " that it be suspended round her neck in 
memory of the love I have desired to feel for her." 
To this donation, the Cardinal adds the superb ring 


he was in the habit of wearing, and which was re- 
markable for a very valuable cameo. 

The codicil contains the following legacies. 

To his sister Angelica Agatha, a ring containing 
relics of St. Cecilia. 

To the Duke Hercules, his brother, Vanni's pic- 
ture of St. Cecilia expiring. This is a different one 
from that placed by the Cardinal in the Crypt of the 
Basilica, upon the altar of the holy martyr. 

To his second brother, the marquis, a painting of 
St. Agnes. 

To Cardinal Farn&se, his large painting of St. 
Peter weeping over his sin. 

To Cardinal Giustiniani, the Ecce Homo of Sodomi. 

To the Convent of The Minerva, a portrait of St. 
Thomas, life size. To the professed house of the 
Gesu, the painting in which the Cardinal is repre- 
sented kneeling before St. Cecilia and the other 
saints to whom he had a special devotion. 

To the barefoot Carmelites, an oval picture of the 

After this enumeration, Sfondrato adds, "I be- 
queath the remainder to the Saint." Then he con- 
cludes with the following directions: "For the 
honor and glory of my dear Saint Agnes and of her 
holy body, I leave two hundred and fifty measures 
(boccali) of oil annually, to feed ten lamps which arc 
to burn night and day, and I charge the Abbess of 
St. Cecilia with the execution of this bequest;' 

This will, an everlasting memorial of the Car 
dmal's piety, bears the date of the 6th of August, 


Sfondrato's body was carried from Tivoli to the. 
Church of St. Cecilia and placed near the Com- 
munion rail, so that the sisters might contemplate 
the mortal remains of him who had been their pro- 
tector and their father. It was not deemed necessary 
to conform to the humble Cardinal's request re- 
specting his obsequies. The Abbess and the reli- 
gious of St. Cecilia desired that they should be 
celebrated with all possible pomp and solemnity. 

So great a man could only be buried at the feet of 
the Virgin whom he had so tenderly loved. He had 
already caused his tomb to be prepared in the crypt 
where she reposes, and had had engraved upon a 
slab of porphyry the inscription he had composed as 
his last homage to the martyr. We have frequently, 
by the light of torches, read it in this gloomy vault, 
near Cecilia's body, and we have envied the happi- 
ness of him whose mortal remains it covers, and who 
sleeps, humbly buried under a pavement never trod- 
den by the footsteps of the profane. It is thus con- 
ceived : 








Paul Sfondrato, a Cardinal Priest of the Holy Roman Church, 
a Titulary of St. Cecilia, a poor sinner, and an humble servant 
of this holy Virgin, here lies humbly at her feet. He lived 
fifty-seven years, ten months, and tweuty-five days, and died on 
the 14th of February, 1626. Pray to God for him. 


This touching and simple epitaph, concealed from 
every eye in the depths of a crypt, was not sufficient 
to record the glory and merits of Sfondrato. The 
executors of his will erected a magnificent cenotaph 
to the Cardinal, under the right lateral nave, near 
the sacristy, at the spot where the Ponziani chapel for- 
merly opened into the Basilica. On this monument is 
placed the bust of the Cardinal ; the hands are joined, 
and the mozetta is of colored marble. On the right, 
is a statue of St. Cecilia, holding in her hand a minia- 
ture organ ; on the left, one of St. Agnes with a 
lamb. A bass-relief on the upper part of the monu- 
ment, represents Sfondrato presenting St. Cecilia's 
body to Clement VIII. These details are unfortu- 
nately very badly executed. The cenotaph is com- 
pleted by an inscription recording the services ren- 
dered by Cardinal Paul Emilius Sfondrato to the 
Church and to St. Cecilia. 


























P. P.* 



We are now near the close of our history. The 
Jansenists, ever eager to pluck from the brow of the 

* To the one God in three Divine Persons. To the memory 
of Paul Sfondrato, Cardinal Bishop of Albano, nephew of Gregory 
XIV., Legate of Bologna, Bishop of Cremona, Praefect of the 
Sign of Grace, worthy of all commendation for his piety towards 
God and the Saints, his zeal for the salvation of souls, and his 
charity towards the poor. Through his exertions the body of 
St. Cecilia was honored with a magnificent sepulture; one hun- 
dred lamps burn night and day before her tomb, presenting a 
faint image of the splendor which surrounds her in heaven. He 
named this temple, embellished through his largesses, heir of 
all his fortune, endowed its priests and ministers, and enriched 
it with valuable vases and holy relics. During his lifetime, he 
never permitted any one to speak in his presence, of the monu- 
ments of his piety. He died at the age of fifty-seven, in the 
year of salvation, 1618. Odoard, Cardinal Farnese, and Augus- 
tin Paccinelli, of Sienna, his executors, have erected this monu- 


Church, the ornaments with which it has pleased her 
divine Spouse to adorn her, seem to have taken 
pleasure in casting ridicule and contempt upon many 
of the touching traditions which have come down to 
us from the earliest ages. And, indeed, they have 
manifested as much earnestness in modifying history 
to suit their views as in reforming dogmas and Evan- 
gelical morals according to their own plans. 

Their efforts have been fruitless. Jansenism has 
been supplanted by Voltarian philosophy, which, in 
its turn, is gradually falling into decay, and upon 
its ruin is rising a new and Catholic generation, 
clinging to the traditions of the early Church, sym- 
pathizing with it in faith and feeling, and trampling 
under foot the prejudices which a succession of dis- 
astrous circumstances seemed to have rendered na- 
tional. Truly, this generation exhibits a wonderful 
example of the unerring instinct of faith in matters 
regarding God and His Saints! Every thing is against 
us: Ecclesiastical History, the Lives of the Saints, 
the profound and systematic oblivion in which ma- 
liciously disposed persons have sought to bury a 
thousand traditions which nourished the faith of our 
fathers, and gave rise to the miracles of former ages. 

It is alarming even to glance at the formidable 
task awaiting Catholic criticism; yet the church of 
France imperatively calls for the vindication of the 
authenticity of many grave and valuable documents, 

many historical details and Acts of the Saints, cruelly 

compromised in this conspiracy against truth. Suph 
a task, considered in its (nil extent, is far beyond our 
power ; we liave merely touched upon a Bingle point. 

May the august Virgin Cecilia pardon us for having 


defended her so feebly ; He, who has already indem- 
nified her for the forgetf illness of mankind, will, in 
his own good time, raise up a powerful avenger of 
her cause. 

The renown of the numerous miracles wrought in 
the trans-Tiberian Basilica^ during the latter part of 
the sixteenth century, was soon widely circulated, 
not only throughout France, but through the whole 
of Christendom, and resulted in the publication of 
several religious and literary works. We will cite 
among others a musical drama, entitled: The Ceci- 
lian, or the Martyrdom of St. Cecilia, published in 
Paris by Nicholas Soret, in 1606. The choruses 
were set to music by Abraham Blondet. In 1617, 
de Welles published at Arras, a French translation 
of a volume edited in Rome by Bosio, containing 
the Acts of St. Cecilia and an account of the two 
Inventions of the martyr's body. De Welles enti- 
tled his translation : Chastity victorious in the admi- 
rable conversion of St. Valerian husband of St. Cecilia, 
Tiburtius, Maximus, and others*. Later a member 
of the Oratory in France, Nicholas de Bralion, who 
resided at Rome from 1625 to 1640, and who has left 
an interesting work upon the churches of this capital 
of the Christian world, f dedicated a volume to the 
glory of our holy Martyr in her tomb. He did not 
publish it until 1688, a short time before his death, 
under the title of: The admirable Sepulture of St. 
Cecilia in her Church in Rome. Even at this early 
period, hagiography was preparing the most magnifi- 

* One vol. in 12°. 

t Curiositie de Tune et de Tautre Rome, 1655-1659. Three 
vols, iu 8^. 


cent tribute which the genius of Catholicity had ever 
dedicated to the honor of the Saints. The immense and 
erudite collection of the Acts of the Saints, commenced 
in 1643, at Anvers by Bollandus, successfully pursued 
its course ; a new volume being annually published, 
worthy of those which had preceded it both in the 
importance of the matter and the erudition of the 
commentaries and notes. The work was arranged 
according to the plan of the " Ecclesiastical Cycle 
and the Martyrologies," but owing to many interrup- 
tions it is unfortunately still incomplete. It has 
been resumed in later years, much to the satifaction 
of all Catholic hearts; but the Acts of the 18th of 
October, upon this immense Calendar, will not be 
published for several years. It is more than prob- 
able that the present century will draw near to a 
close before the Acts of St. Cecilia will be given to 
the public. 

In 1648, a new triumph was awarded to St. Cecilia, 
at the Capitol in Eome. The chapel of this magnifi- 
cent palace was newly decorated, and the daughter 
of the Cecilii, as a Roman citizen and matron, was 
honored with a painting and accompanying inscrip- 
tion in this sanctuary.* This great Virgin is repre- 
sented as the patroness of music : she is seated, 
playing a harpsicord. The painting is by Roma- 
nelli — the inscription as follows : 
S. P. Q. R. 

* Three other personages, all Roman citizens, have been 
honored in this chapel of the Capitol. St. luistacc, J^t. Alexis, 
and Blessed Louise Albertoni. 


The idea of thus restoring the name and memory 
of Cecilia, in the very place where her ancestor Caia 
Cecili had for so many years been honored with a 
statue, is deeply touching and admirably blends 
Pagan and Christian Eome in the person of our 
heroine. A Christian Cecilia assuming in the Capi- 
tol the place of the Pagan Caia proves alike the 
triumph of Christianity and the eternity of Eome. 

Before the close of the seventeenth century, the 
most eminent hagiographers had published their 
opinion respecting these Acts, against which so vio- 
lent a tempest was about to break forth. Hensche- 
nius spoke in the highest terms of this venerable 
document, in commenting upon the 14th of April, 
dedicated to Sts. Tiburtius, Valerian and Maximus.* 

The opinion of a man so well versed in the diffi- 
cult art of comparing documents and deciding their 
respective merits, was certainly a powerful counter- 
poise to the arguments adduced by St. Cecilia's ene- 
mies ; but the truth of her history was conclusively 
established in 1680, when Papebroke, who had 
shared the labors of Henschenius, announced to the 
public his decision in favor of her Acts. In the 
very beginning of the first volume of the Acts of 
the Saints for the month of May, this critic who cer- 
tainly cannot be accused of credulity, declared the 

* Heec pervetusta homm sanctorum solemnis veneratio, pluri- 
mum crevit ex certissima virtutum ac martyrii notitia, quam 
dabant antiqua S. Caeciliae Acta quse tunc temporis omnium 
manibus terebantur, et hactenus in prsecipuis et perantiquis 
membranis conservantur. Acta SS. Aprilis, Tome ii. page 203. 


Acts of St. Cecilia most ancient and true.* Divine 
Providence doubtless permitted this fearless testi- 
mony as a counterpoise to the opinion of certain 
influential writers who would have consigned to 
oblivion one of the most precious recitals of the 
primitive Church. 

The Acts of St. Cecilia, as the unprejudiced 
reader must have already perceived, are not wanting 
in intrinsic- evidence of their own truth ; still, Ave 
are no less happy to record in their favor the opin- 
ion of so competent a judge, a man who was cen- 
sured throughout Europe for the severity of his 

It is something to be able to prove that the very 
century which beheld the attack, saw also the most 
learned and reliable men coming forward to repress 
the audacity of a clique which felt itself called to 
exercise a lasting influence over the minds of men. 
The greater the number of Saints 7 lives which Pape- 
broke has rejected, as doubtful or apocryphal, the 
stronger the weight of his authority in support of 
those which he has deemed it his duty to admft. 

The impulse given to hagiography by the Bollan- 
dists, first called forth the Acta Sanctorum Ordinis 
sancti Benedlcti published by Dom Mabillon, and 
then inspired Dom Euinart with the idea of his 
Acta primorum Martyrum slncera et selecta. This 
precious collection, a treasure of erudition and 

* Antiquissima et sincerissima habeiitiir hujtLS Ballots Virgi- 
nia Acta, quorum notitia videtur admodum Bero perlata ad 
Grsecos, etc. EphemerideM Grcecorum tt Mo8coruM } page 51. 


criticism, appeared in 1689. The author's plan was 
to make a collection of what seemed to him the 
most authentic Acts of the Martyrs in order to set 
forth in its strongest light, the powerful argument 
which the Church derives from the courageous con- 
fession of those heroes of the Faith. The Acts of 
St. Cecilia are not in this collection, for as the school 
of Port Eoyal was then beginning to prepare its 
decrees of proscription against an innumerable num- 
ber of christian monuments, Dom Euinart was 
unwilling to insert in his book any Acts that were 
not unhesitatingly admitted by men whose influence 
was already so strikingly felt. However, he thought 
himself bound to declare in the Preface that he was 
far from pretending that his collection contained all 
the genuine Acts of the Martyrs, or from branding 
as apocryphal those which he had not thought proper 
to insert ;* and in the body of the work he qualifies 
as excellent (egregia) the Acts of St. Sebastian, which 
he had not dared to insert, on account of some 
trifling difficulties presented by them. This system 
offers serious inconveniences and if applied to his- 
torical records in general, would soon give birth to 

* Porro etsi nihil oniiserira, ut quantum in me fuit, haec Ac- 
torum collectio accurata atque numeris omnibus absoluta redde- 
retur : non ita tamen rem me confeeisse existimo, ut nulla peni- 
tus, prseter ea quae hie exhibemus sincera Martyrum Acta 
reperiri posse existimem. Nee etiam animus est, ea omnia inter 
spuria rejicere quae hie non habentur ; quin et si aliquis non- 
nulla ex iis qua? a me forte rejecta sunt sincera judicaverit, non 
refragabor, modo id argumentis certis probare queat : alias unus- 
quisque hi suo sensu abundet. Acta sincera Martyrum : Prsefatio. 
page 12. 


the most ridiculous and dangerous pyrrhonism. 
Among the best historians of ancient or even modern 
times, are there many whose narrations may not be 
contradicted in some particulars, and is it not the 
province of sound criticism to throw light upon 
doubtful statements, to explain inconsistencies, and 
in a word, to clear away the clouds which, through 
some fault, voluntary or involuntary, of the narrator, 
have veiled the truth? What would become of our 
knowledge of the past, if it were permitted to reject 
the testimony of an author whose honesty is un- 
doubted, simply because his writings exhibit traces 
of haste and inaccuracy ? 

The favor with which Dom Kuinart's collection 
was received, and the esteem in which it is still held, 
enables us to draw from it rules of criticism which 
the severest critic must admit. The facts related in 
these Acts, which he declares to be absolutely 
unquestionable, are so many terms of comparison, 
whose value cannot be disputed, and we shall soon 
see that the Acts of St. Cecilia, when compared with 
those guaranteed as true by Dom Euinart, come off 
triumphant from the trial. 

We must also remember, that two thirds of the 
Acts published by Dom Kuinart were compiled 
after the age of Persecutions, from ancient memoirs 
long since lost. He even admits the Acts of St. 
Cyr and St. Julitte, although ho acknowledges that 
they were not compiled before the reign of Justinian. 11 

It is easy to perceive how strongly the example 

* Acta Martyrum Bincera et Beleota, page r>20. 


thus given by the severe Benedictine, tends to con- 
firm the confidence of the Church in the Acts of St. 
Cecilia, although we no longer possess the primitive 
Acts compiled by the Notaries of Eome, nor other 
documents from which the compiler of the fifth 
century framed his narrative. But we will digress 
for a moment from the field of controversy, to 
congratulate the Eoman Basilica of St. Cecilia upon 
an event which towards the end of the seventeenth 
century re-awakened its dearest and most brilliant 

On the 12th of December, 1695, Innocent XII., 
elevated to the honors of the purple Celestin Sfon- 
drato, Abbot of St. Gall. Celestin, who was born in 
1644, was a nephew of Paul Emilius, and from his 
youth had aspired to the cloistered life. He pro- 
nounced his vows according to the Benedictine Eule, 
in this illustrious Abbey, Avhere he consecrated his 
leisure hours to the study of sacred science, and' 
cultivated it with remarkable success. The heart of 
the young monk was inflamed with such ardent zeal 
for the liberty of the Church, that he was one of the 
most generous defenders of her independence against 
the eneroachments of Louis XIV. And this, at a 
time when Catholic Europe was looking on these 
encroachments in silence. 

Celestin had been sent to the Abbey of St. Peter, 
in Saltzburg, to fill the chair of canonical law in the 
University of that city, when the assembly of the 
French Clergy, in 1682, published the famous 
Declaration respecting the rights of the Sovereign 


Pontiff in the constitution of the Church. A council 
of Bishops in Hungary, and several universities in 
Spain declaimed against the outrage thus offered in 
France to apostolic power. The University of Saltz- 
burg likewise published its disapproval of the four 
propositions of the Parisian Assembly. This cou- 
rageous act was principally due to the influence of 

But he did not limit his zeal to the condemnation 
of novelties, of which he could easily foresee the 
disastrous influence upon religious and political 
society. He boldly entered the arena and whilst 
awaiting the " Defence of the Declaration," which 
Louis XIV., exacted from, the Bishop of Meaux, he 
avenged the liberty of the church in an excellent 
Treatise upon the Regale, against which this fatal 
storm had been directed;* in his Sacerdoce Royal, 
he elevated the apostolic monarchy, which had been 
degraded through the interested policy of several 
court prelates ;f he proved the novelty of the princi- 
ples of the French Clergy in a learned work against 
Mainbourg in which he brought forward the testi- 
mony and authority of ancient French authors \% and 
finally, when the scandalous conduct of the Marquis 
de Lavardin in regard to the privileges claimed by 
the French ambassador at the Court of Eome, bad 
manifested to the world the pride and obstinacy of 

* Tractatus Regaliae contra Rlerum Gallicarmm, 1682 in 4°. 

f Regale Sacerdotium Comano Pontiiici assert um, et quatuor 
propositicmibus explicatum, sous le pscudonymc d'Eugenius Lom- 
bards, 1684, in-1. 

X Gallia vindieata. 1688, in-4. 


Louis XIV., in his dealings with the Pope, Sfondrato 
transmitted to posterity a faithful account of these 
unworthy proceedings on the part of one, who called 
himself "the oldest son of the Church."* 

This invincible zeal of Sfondrato excited the 
animosity of the heads of the French Clergy, who 
were accomplices in the work of 1652. But they 
failed in obtaining the condemnation of the book in 
which he treats all questions concerning grace, in a 
manner opposed to the theories of thomism.f Rome 
did not think that Sfondrato had advanced any 
thing contrary to the decisions of the Church. At 
the same time the author could not be classed amonsr 


those who were called in France the flatterers of the 
Eoman Court ; for although he energetically supported 
the sacred prerogatives of the supreme Pontiff, he was 
no less firm in censuring the abuses to which human 
frailty sometimes yielded in so elevated a position. 
There is a severe treatise against Nepotism which i.s 
a production of the courageous pen of Celestin 

Such a man could not fail to interest the noble 
heart of Innocent XL, In 16SS, this Pontiff appointed 
Sfondrato, Bishop of ZSTovare; this nomination was at 
first declined by the learned monk. He afterwards 
decided to accept it, but just as he was on the point 
of so doing, the Abbey of St. Gall became vacant, 

* Legatio Marcliionis Lavardmi Romam, ejnsque cum Iniio- 
centio XI dissidiurn. 1655. in-12. 

t Nodus prsdestina-tionis dissolutns, 1697. in-4. 
4: 2sepotisiiiU5 theologiae expensus. 1692 in-12. 


•and the unanimous suffrage of the chapter elected 
Sfondrato to the dignity of Abbot, together with the 
honors of Prince of the Holy Empire. In this new 
dignity he was ever faithful to the Church, and to 
the Holy See, humble amidst the grandeur which 
surrounded him, zealous for the salvation of souls, 
assiduous in study, vigilant in the government of his 
principality, austere in his habits and remarkable, 
as his uncle Paul Emilius had been, for his inex- 
haustible charity towards the poor and suffering. 

Such was Celestin Sfondrato, the most powerful 
Abbot of his time, as well as the most celebrated for 
his virtues and science, when he received the news 
of his elevation to the Cardinalate, Innocent XII. 
called him to Kome / and he was obliged to resign his 
Abbey. The Pope, in memory of his uncle, con- 
ferred upon him the Church of St. Cecilia. Celestin 
merited this glorious honor in reward for his attach- 
ment to the liberty of the Church ; but he had 
scarcely arrived in Eome, when he was attacked by 
a serious illness, and scarcely had a year elapsed 
after his promotion, when he yielded his soul to God, 
on the 4th of September, JL 69 6, in the 52nd year of 
age. Like Paul Emilius, he desired to repose in the 
Basilica of the Holy Martyr, and gave orders that 
the humble epitaph composed by his uncle should 
be engraven upon his tomb. It is still to be seen 
and runs thus : 










This Prince of the Church, so lately a temporal 
Prince, did not have sufficient means to provide for 
his burial, and the Apostolic Chamber were obliged 
to defray his funeral expenses.* 

At the very moment when the Sovereign Pontiff 
invited Celestin Sfondrato to take possession of the 
sanctuary, whence the heroic Cecilia has for centuries 
bestowed her blessings upon the defenders of the 
Church, the outrage which had been long preparing 
in France against the memory of this incomparable 
Martyr, was consummated. In 1695, appeared the 
third volume of the Memoires pour servir a Vhistoire 
HJcclesiastique des six premiers siecles, by Le Nain de 
Tillemont, one of the most learned and dangerous 
adepts of Port Eoyal. Iff this volume, as well as in 
those which precede and follow it, we find a vein of 
profound and systematical contempt for the traditions 
most prized by Catholics ; the Acts of St. Cecilia are 
censured with a levity and partiality which must call 
forth, sooner or later, the disapprobation of all impar- 

* Guarnacci. Vitce et res gestcB Pontificnrr, Romanoritm. et S» 
JR. E, Cardinalium, tome 1, page 443-446. 


tial critics. Notwithstanding the popularity they ' 
had enjoyed for over a thousand years, they are not ' 
deemed worthy a special chapter; in a simple note 
of the two pages, Tillemont settles the question of 
their authenticity. 

" These Acts," says he, " may be ancient, and are 
not badly written."* Having admitted this, Tille- 
mont goes on to assail these grave and ancient acts 
with a multitude of objections, which we will refute 
in the ensuing chapter. At present, w r e deem it a 
duty to lay before our readers the views entertained 
concerning the Acts of St. Cecilia, by the majority 
of Christians during the very century, which beheld 
them ridiculed and despised by bold and unscrupu- 
lous authors. 

The Eoman Church, the Ambrosian Church, the 
Gallican Church, the Gothic Church of Spain, and 
the Greek Church had unanimously proclaimed these 
Acts worthy the respect of all Christendom. From 
age to age, Pontiffs and Doctors, who succeeded each 
other in their different Churches, venerated a narra- 
tion, many parts of which were then, and are still, 
used in different parts of the Divine Service through- 
out the greater number of Christian countries. Can 
so many competent judges, so many nations, so many 
individuals, be accused of having received, with 
undeviating respect, for thirteen centuries, a fabulous 

*Tillcmont. Memoires pour servin a T Hist Ecclesiastique, tome 
Hi. p. 259. It is perhaps well to observe that the expression 
badly written which Tillemont uses, should not be understood 
in its present signification. In the seventeenth century, it 
signified a compilation faulty in matter, not in style. 


legend, which reason and criticism were always at 
liberty to condemn, since it was not in any way con- 
nected with the Sacred Scriptures. 

Shall we pass over, as a thing of no importance, 
the unanimous agreement of hagiographers, for a 
period of a thousand years, beginning from the 
Venerable Bede and descending to Baronius and 
Papebroke ? And shall we venture to assert, that the 
question, concerning the authenticity of St. Cecilia's 
Acts, had never been discussed until the da}^, when 
Port Eoyal was pleased to intimate to the Christian 
world its decisions against their truth ? 

If, after having cited the unanimous approbation 
of past ages, we now consider the Acts in themselves, 
will sound criticism, find any reason for discrediting 
the facts which they contain ? Are not these facts in 
perfect accordance with the age in which they are 
said to have transpired ? Do we find in them anything 
opposed to the customs of the early Christians of 
Eome ? Is there anything either singular, or improb- 
able, in the incidents related, or in the language of 
the speakers ? Are we not, on the contrary, impressed 
with the similarity of these Acts to those given us 
by Dom Euinart ? 

During the centuries that have elapsed since the 
publication of the Acts, St. Cecilia's tomb has been 
twice opened and her dwelling, now her Basilica, has 
been the constant object of pious and eager research. 
"What has been the result ? The most evident proofs 
of the narrator's sincerity, the most striking confirma- 
tion of the facts he relates. Shall the satirical and 


gratuitous assertions of a writer who disdains to 
notice archaeological discoveries suffice to overthrow 
positive proofs, the least of which would be sufficient 
to reinstate in the minds of scientific men, a monu- 
ment of profane antiquity no matter how decried; 
especially, proofs so strong as those furnished by the 
opening of Cecilia's tomb and the discovery of her 
caldarium ? 

If so, we must compliment the compiler of the 
Acts for all the beauties found in this astonishing 
work. That a man, who was ignorant even of the 
grammar of his native language and of all the rules 
of composition, could be the inventor of so sublime 
a drama, composed with such grace and energy, 
such delicacy and grandeur, never occurred to the 
Christian world, until it was informed of the fact by 
Tillemont ; nor should we be surprised if the learned 
were still to reject it, in spite of the authority of Port 

There are some men, who, slaves to pride, and to 
the spirit of system, have deadened that judgment 
which the Creator has given us to discern truth from 
falsehood ; but it is strange that Tillemont, versed 
as he was in memorials of ecclesiastical antiquity, 
did not at once understand the difference between 
our Acts, which are so precise in their narration, so 
probable throughout, so easy in the developments 
of characters, and apocryphal recitals, the exagge- 
rated style of which borders on the marvellous, and 
convinces the reader that the author has given full 
vent to his imagination, without troubling himself 


about circumstances, time, or place. Now there is 
as much difference between the two, as between a 
portrait taken from nature and a fancy sketch. 

Even though Ave had been left without any docu- 
ments concerning the first ages of Christianity, 
though the customs of the early Christians were per- 
fectly unknown to us, what man, initiated in the 
religion of Christ, would not feel that the Martyrs 
led just such a life? And shall we, who, notwith- 
standing the ravages of time, can still represent to 
ourselves those heroic days, with the assistance of 
so many incontestable monuments, not recognize the 
Christians of the third centmy, the cotemporaries of 
Tertullian and Origen, in the noble yet simple cha- 
racters of Cecilia, Tiburtius, and Valerian ? 

Insults and denials are not sufficient, proofs are 
requisite. The arguments so triumphantly adduced 
by Tillemont and his successors shall be discussed 
by us in that Catholic spirit whfch ought to have 
led them to treat with reverence, traditions admitted 
by learned and virtuous men, and proposed by the 
Church to the respectful admiration of her children. 
To root out a beautiful flower from the garden of 
the Church, to trample it under foot, to deprive Ce- 
cilia of all glory save her name and an uncertain 
martyrdom, must have required powerful reasons. 
Our Catholic readers may judge of their merits. 




Tillemont begins by attacking the Acts of St. Ce- 
cilia, as well as those of Sts. Callistus and Urban, be- 
cause they imply a persecution against the Christians, 
during the reign of Alexander Severus, who is well 
known to have been favorably disposed to Christi- 
anity.* This objection might have some weight, if 
the author of the Acts had alleged any edicts or hos- 
tile disposition of the Emperor towards the Christ- 
ians ; but Alexander is not once mentioned in the 
Acts; the violent persecutions against the Christians 
are attributed solely to the personal hatred of his 
prefect, Turchius Almachius. The Acts of Saints 
Callistus and Martina are more open to criticism on 
this point, because Alexander Severus is personally 
spoken of in connection with the persecutions. 

Now it is certain that, during the reign of this 
weak-minded prince, the Christians Buffered local 
persecutions from the magistrates, who were hostile 
to the Church, and who took advantage of the laws 

* See Tillemont'fl "Memoirea pourserrir a L'HIstoire Eoolesi- 
astique dea six premiers Bieoles* 1 Tome iii. p, 679. 


which the son of Julia Mammaea had not the courage 
to revoke. We can prove this asssertion not only 
by the opinion of Baronius,* but also by the ex- 
press admission of Petau,f Dom Buinart^ Fleury,§ 
Baillet,! and, strange to say, Tillemont himself, 

* See liis notes upon the Roman Martyrology of the 1st of 

f Alexandro Imperatore pacem habuit Ecclesia. Nam et Chris- 
tianis ille favisse dicitur. Verum cum eos in consilium adhiberet 
qui, ut juris peritissimi, ita christianis iniquissimi erant, non- 
nullaB Martyrum caedes extiterunt, quos inter Csecilia claruit 
cum Tiburtio et Valeriano. Rationarium temporum, part, i., lib. 
v., cap. xi. 

J Alexandrum Heliogabali successorum Christianis favisse 
nemo potest inficiari, nisi omnes antiquos scriptores rejicere 
velit. Unde mirum est, tot Martyres sub ejus imperio passos a 
nonnuUis recenseri. An id ad Praefectos, quos sub ejus imperio 
saevissimos fuisse aiunt referendum est ? An forte dicendum, 
aliquot Martyres, qui sub Severi persecutione passi sunt, ad 
Alexandri tempora incaute transferri, quod et ipse Severus fue- 
rit appellatus ? At Callixtus Papa, qui eo imperante vivere 
desiit, inter Martyres in Kalendario Bucheriano recensetur. 
Prcefatio in Acta Martyrum, §iii., page 38. 

§ Although Alexander was favorable to the Christians, we 
can count several martyrs during his time, among others, Pope 
Callistus, who died the first year of his reign, A. D. 122., and 
his successor, St. Urban. But we may believe that the perse- 
cutions took place without the knowledge of the Emperor, by 
the sole authority of the magistrates, who were bitter enemies 
to the Christian name. Hist. Ecclesiastigue. lib. v. n° xlix. 

|| However great was the peace of the Church under so good 
an Emperor as Alexander Severus, who permitted himself to be 
governed by his mother, Julia Manimaea, supposed to be a 
Christian, and who esteemed our Redeemer so much as to pro- 
pose ranking Him among the gods and erecting a temple in His 
honor ; still many martyrs suffered during his reign, either in 
popular tumults excited by the Pagans, or through the malignity 
of the heathen priests and magistrates. We can assert with 
sufficient authority, that Callistus was of this number. Vies des 
Saints, tome vii. inA c 14 Octobre. 


who, finding it impossible to deny the martyrdom 
of Pope Callistus, which assuredly took place daring 
the reign of Alexander Severus, agrees that several 
Christians may have received the crown of martyr- 
dom at this period. He even goes so far as to ex- 
plain how such persecutions took place, and in doino* 
so, makes use of the very arguments which we pre- 
sented to the reader in the commencement of this 

The opinion of so many learned men as to the kind 
of persecution the Christians of Eome suffered under 
Alexander, is confirmed by the Acts of St. Cecilia, 
with a precision, the force of which Tillemont does 
not seem to have even perceived. It is evident from 
every circumstance mentioned in these Acts, that 
the Prefect Almachius, in his process against the 
brothers, is very reluctant to bring forward the charge 
of their being Christians; that his hesitation in con- 
demning them to death is very marked ; and that he 
dares not sentence Cecilia to a public execution. Let 
these Acts be compared with those of other martyrs 
who suffered in consequence of edicts of persecution, 
and see if in the latter case the magistrates acted 
with so much indecision. Add to this the emperor's 
absence in the year 230, which was the last of Urban's 

* But this peace did not prevent that either in consequence 
of some sedition among the people, or from other causes, there 
may have been some cases of martyrdom during the reign of 
Alexander Severus, as there had been during that of Philip, who 
passed for a Christian, and of other emperors who openly pro- 
tected the Church. We have even many proofs that St. Callis- 
tus suffered martyrdom under Alexander Severus. Memoires 
pour nmrvir a VHistoire, Ecclesiastique, tome iii. p. 231. See als<# 
Ibid in tin; notes p. 681 • 



pontificate, and the temporary persecution of the 
Eoman magistrate will be easily understood. His 
violence was at first directed only against the ple- 
beians ; but a patrician family becoming accidentally 
implicated, the magistrate feared to commit himself. 
We have admitted that five thousand persons fell 
victims in this persecution, and if the number be ex- 
aggerated, our readers must remember that we do 
not quote it from the Acts of St. Cecilia, but from 
those of Urban, which, although doubtless reliable, 
have not the authority of the Acts of the Eoman 
Virgin. The fact that the latter were compiled during 
the peace of the Church, is a sufficient proof of the 
purity of the sources whence the writer drew his 
story. Entirely ignorant of chronology, he does not 
seem to know the name of the emperor under whom 
the events which he relates took place ; and, never- 
theless, his narrative perfectly accords with the reign 
of a weak-minded prince, who, although favorable 
to Christianity, still permitted his magistrates to en- 
force laws which had been suspended, but not abol- 
ished. If our writer had not had tradition to guide 
him, he would, like the authors of apocryphal acts, 
have cited in his history edicts and emperors; he 
would have imitated the Acts of other martyrs, in- 
stead of showing that originality, which is in perfect 
keeping with the condition of the Church of Eome 
under Alexander Severus. Tillemont probably felt 
this, for he seeks to throw discredit upon the Acts 
by pointing out circumstances contained in them, 
which appear to him difficult to reconcile with what we 
know of the period. 


"We find; 7 he says, "in the Acts of St. Cecilia, 
that the emperors had commanded that all who would 
not renounce Christianity should be punished ; con- 
sequently there must have been a declared persecu- 
tion. The mention made in many places of several 
emperors is out of place at a period when but one 
prince was reigning. 7 ' It is easy to explain this latter 
difficulty, if it can be called one. 

Almachius became so involved in judiciary acts of 
violence against the Church, that he was forced to 
refer to some law, in order to authorize his prosecu- 
tions. The laws which had been promulgated against 
the Christians, by the predecessors of Alexander, 
were his only refuge. It was very natural that the 
Prefect should express himself in the plural when 
alleging the edicts of former emperors ; had he pre- 
sumed to use Alexander's name, the latter might 
have brought him to account for abusing his name 
and authority in support of actions which were to- 
tally foreign to his own line of conduct. If, therefore, 
Almachius mentioned several emperors, he did not 
necessarily imply that the empire was at this time 
governed by several heads. This form of judiciary 
style is constantly found in the acts of legal tribunals, 
both of ancient and modern times. Tillcmont was 
perfectly aware of this. He lived during the reign 
of Louis XIV., a prince who assuredly reigned alone; 
did he then think that France had suddenly fallen 
into the hands of several monarchs, when lie met 
with some decree of Parliament, appealing to the 
edicts and ordinances of our lungs? Tillemont 
is not satisfied with declaring our acts a romance, 


solely because they seem to him incompatible with 
the reign of Alexander Severus; he, moreover, 
considers the very name of Almachius, which he 
says is not Koman,* sufficient to invalidate the whole 
narration. He even adds that such is the opinion 
of Fathers Gamier and Sirmond, deeming that in 
such a cause even Jesuits may be considered reliable 
authority. The reply to this pretended difficulty is 
very easy. Without dwelling upon the possibility 
of some alteration having been made in Almachius ) 
name during the two centuries which elapsed be- 
tween the martyrdom of St. Cecilia and the compila- 
tion of her Acts, we will simply say that the prefect 
who condemned our martyrs was named Turcius Al- 
machius, and not merely Almachius. Can Tillemont 
deny that Turcius is a Eoman name? The Eoman 
inscription given by Gruter, would be sufficient to 
convict him of falsehood. 

Moreover, Tillemont himself, in his study of the 
Martyrs of Italy, met with the name of Turcius and 
quietly registered it. He relates that in 274, the 
Emperor Aurelian sent a magistrate, named Turcius, 
to Sutri in Tuscany, f with orders to persecute the 
Christians ; and he even positively asserts that the 
name of Turcius was quite common in ancient times, 
several persons, named Turcius Asterius, having been 
elevated to the first offices of the Empire.;}: More- 
over, he mentions that in 303, during the persecution 
of Diocletian, a Proconsul Turcius prosecuted the 

* Memoires, tome iii., page 690. 

f Memoires tome iv. p. 352. 

X Memoires dan.i les notes p. 682. 


Christians in Perugia.* It matters little, however, 
whether the name of Almachius was the exact sur- 
name of the prefect, or whether it is a corruption of 
the true surname, we have used it simply because it 
is more popular. Tillemont, after attempting to prove 
that Cecilia did not live during the reign of Alexan- 
der, and after trying to obliterate even the name of 
the judge to whom she owed her crown of martyrdom, 
takes the trouble to find her a place in the chronology 
of the saints. Now, as he refused to accept the epoch 
determined by the Acts, he found it necessary to 
choose between two dates. In order to avoid em- 
barrassment he adopted both, neither being the one 
received by the Church. The following are his 
proofs: " Usuard and several others, for instance Ado, 
place St. Cecilia under the Emperors Marcus Aure- 
lius and Commodus who reigned conjointly, from 176 
to 180. The Greeks place her under Diocletian."* 

The reader may now choose between these two 
equally reliable dates. It is indeed true that Usuard 
and St. Ado place St. Cecilia under Marcus Aurelius 
and Commodus ; but the historian of Port Royal does 
not add that they also mention her during Urban's 
pontilicate, that in their martyrology of the 14th of 
April, they note the martyrdom of St. Tiburtius, 
Maximus, and Cecilia, under the same Pontiff, from 
whose hands they aflirm the two former received 
Baptism, and that on the 25th of May, in the notice 
on St. Urban, they relate the interviews between this 
Pope and Cecilia. Usuard and Ado have therefore 
erred in placing Cecilia under Marcus Aurelius and 

* Memo in 8, Tome v. p, 1 L9< 


Commodus ; this mistake may perhaps be- accounted 
for by the name of Alexander Severus, which was 
in full, Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander. The 
liturgists of the ninth century had not the facility we 
have of knowing the different imperial names, which 
are now found upon bronzes and medals. Moreover, 
on any other occasion, Tillemont would not have 
considered their opinion of any value ; he only quotes 
it here because it helps to prove his assertions. As 
to the Greeks, who did not know the Acts of St. Cecilia 
before the ninth century, and who refer her martyr- 
dom to the persecution of Diocletian, this is the only 
occasion upon which Tillemont quotes their books 
which are proverbial for their extreme imperfection 
and open in many points to criticism. In this case, 
they are evidently wrong, since they relate the inter- 
views between Cecilia and Pope Urban who governed 
the Church fifty years before Diocletian. 

We frequently find this arbitrary use of the rules 
of criticism in Tillemont's work. The reader has 
already seen the Hymn we copied from the Gothic 
Breviary ; it is a perfect abridgment of our Acts, 
and by its antiquity, of sufficient importance to 
confirm them Tillemont does not deign to notice 
it, whereas he mentions in the following terms a 
Hymn of the same liturgy, which embodies the Acts 
of St. Marciana. " We have a hymn to St. Marciana, 
taken from the Gothic or Mozarabic Breviary of 
Toledo, and from the Acts given by Bollandus. We 
cannot assert that these Acts are original, since they 
seem to have been written several years after the 
death of the Saint, and contain some particulars which 


give us reason to doubt their truth. However, the 
Hymn found in the Breviary of Toledo, is sufficiently 
ancient and beautiful to authorize us in receiving the 
Acts."* The Acts of St. Marciana are not certainly 
wanting in authority; nevertheless they are far from 
aaving been so universally received as those of St. 
Cecilia ; the details in them were never so publicly 
known ; nor are they confirmed by such striking 
monuments ; and still Tillemont is very liberal to 
them, and disdainfully rejects the others. 

This author, not satisfied with trying to invalidate 
the chronology of our Acts, also attacks them in their 
topographical bearing. We will cite the words of 
this celebrated critic. "It is very singular," he says, 
"that both the Greeks and Latins mention St. Cecilia 
as being a Roman, even the Martyrologies attributed 
to St. Jerome ; whereas Fortunatus, who is probably 
our most ancient author upon these subjects, places 
her in Sicily : 


" Neither he, nor any one else, says that she was 
a native of Sicily, for we see, from St. Thecla and 
others, that Fortunatus only mentions that island as 
the place of her death. It is probable, therefore, that 
she was martyred there, and that her body having 
been carried to Rome in the early ages, some have 
called her a Roman, from this circumstance, as in the 
case of St. Sabina, who died at Umbria ; others be- 
lieved that she lived and died in Rome, and conse- 

* Memoircs, tome v. page 2G3. 


quently composed her Acts upon this supposition, 
probably transforming a Governor and a Bishop of 
Sicily into a Prefect of Eome and a Pope. It is 
certain that this would be easy for those who have 
not received the love of truth. r f 

Conformably to the doctrines of Port Koyal, which 
the author exposes with so much naivete, a writer 
is truthful or deceitful in his narrations, not ac- 
cording to his own free will, but according to whether 
he has or has not received the love of truth. Such 
doctrines should render those who believe in them, 
indulgent to false writers, and historical imposters; 
they should not reject them with too much disdain ; 
but should wait patiently for the love of truth to de- 
scend into them, and render them sincere and faith- 
ful, without their own co-operation. We who are 
Catholics and believe man to be endowed with per- 
sonal responsibility, find it difficult to recognize in 
Tillemont that love of truth which he refuses to the 
compiler of St. Cecilia's Acts, and we do not hesitate 
to call him to an account for it. He agrees that all 
the authors who mention St. Cecilia call her a Roman, 
and yet all these venerable names are effaced by that 
of a single individual, Fortunatus, Bishop of Poic- 
tiers. And what do we find in his writings, so con- 
clusive as to overthrow the testimony of ages ? 
One single line of poetry ! And that line, defective 
in quantity, which naturally leads us to suppose the 
copyist in fault, at least in some degree. On the 
authority of this one line, Tillemont would have us 
believe that St. Cecilia died in Sicily, because, 

* Memoirs, tome iii. page 690. 


forsooth, " Fortunatus is probably the most ancient 
author who speaks of the holy martyr !" This prob- 
ably is, to Tillemont's mind, sufficiently weighty to 
counterbalance the Martyrology attributed to St. 
Jerome; the Leonian, Gelasian, Ambrosian and Gal- 
ilean Sacramentaries ; the Papal Chronicle of Felix 
IV., and all the historical monuments of St. Cecilia, 
founded upon the Acts, and prior to Fortunatus. 

But even supposing the famous line to be original, 
does Tillemont know of what Cecilia, Fortunatus 
speaks ? It is very certain that the Bishop does not 
say. Many learned Sicilians, among others Octavio 
Gaetano, who have written the lives of the Saints 
of Sicily, have frankly acknowledged that they could 
not find the slightest vestige of a St. Cecilia, born 
or martyred on that island ; or even of one whose 
relics had been brought there. It is therefore 
natural to think that, if Fortunatus composed this 
line, he erred ; or perhaps he confounded one island 
of the Mediterranean with another. There was a 
St. Cecilia martyred at Cagliari in Sardinia;* the 
similarity of name may have led to this mistake. 
However this may be, the spirit of system alone, 
could transform into an oracle these unexplained 
words of an author who wrote at a distance from the 
theatre of events, and whose words had passed un- 
noticed for more than a thousand years. 

But Tillemont not only prefers this solitary line 
of poetry, to the unanimous testimony of Roman 
authors, both anterior and posterior to Fortunatus; 
but, with it for his guide, he proceeds to relate Ce- 

* Macedo. Dc Divia tuUlaribm orbit christian^ pftge 215. 



cilia's history. He cannot deny that hei body is at 
Eome ; but he explains this circumstance by an 
imaginary translation of her relics, which was never 
heard of before. That the Saint suffered in Sicily, 
he deems incontestably proved by Fortunatus' words. 
It is equally certain that her body is now in Eome. 
Therefore it must have been carried thither. This 
is Tillemont's proposition. Now for his proof. St. 
Sabina, who suffered martyrdom in Umbria, was 
transported to the capital of the Christian Avorld.* 
Wherefore, Cecilia's body may also have been trans- 
lated thither. Such is the logic of this relentless 
critic of Cecilia's Acts. 

The above reasoning, however, is opposed by a 
grave difficulty, which Port Eoyal did not perceive 
in the exultation of its triumph. The body of St. 
Sabina was indeed brought to Eome ; but it was for 
the purpose of being honorably placed in a church 
built under the invocation of the saint, upon Mount 
Aventine. St. John Chrysostom was also transferred 
from Constantinople, to St. Peter's in Eome; St. 
Jerome from Bethlehem to St. Mary Major; and 
many other foreign saints to the different churches 
of the same city ; but besides the fact of history hav- 
ing preserved the memory of all these translations, 
altars and Basilicas awaited these sacred remains. 
St. Cecilia, on the contrary, arrives, and no one is 
aware of her coming ; this great martyr, to whom 
Sicily with regret confesses itself a stranger, comes 
nevertheless, from that island, and the Eoman Church 
which coveted her relics, thinks them of so little im- 

* Memoires, tome iii . page 690. 


portance, that she buries them in the depths of a 
crypt on the Appian Way. She inscribes Cecilia's 
name in the Canon of her Mass, and yet clandes- 
tinely conceals her sacred body, brought from such 
a distance, in a vault, where Tillemont is forced to 
acknowledge, Paschal found it in the beginning of 
the ninth century, together with Sts. Tiburtius, Vale- 
rian, and Maximus, who were, it is to be presumed, 
brought from Sicily with the holy virgin. 

Is not this nonsensical? Is it not humiliating to 
see Catholics carried away by such reasoning, in 
spite of the most convincing proofs of its falsehood ? 

But Tillemont does not stop here. Since he has 
received the love of truth more than any one who lived 
during the twelve centuries when Cecilia was sup- 
posed to be a Eoman virgin, we naturally expect 
him to explain to us how it was that Urban was 
transformed from a Sicilian bishop into a Pope, and 
Turcius Almachius, from a governor of Sicily, into 
a Roman prefect. But Tillemont contents himself 
with asserting this transformation; he does not con- 
descend to prove it. We must then conclude that 
the compiler of the Acts is an impostor, and that 
Port Eoyal is an infallible judge of places and 
persons no matter how ancient. Nothing remains 
now but to assign the date of this famous translation 
upon which the system depends. It must have taken 

place before the end of the fifth century, since Tille- 
mont says that, during the, Pontificate of Pope Sym« 
machus, there was a ehureh of St. Cecilia in Rome.* 
Otherwise it would he Impossible to explain why the 

* Memoirs, tOH16 iii . ]>:t;'«' 690, 


saint "had not been placed in her church. There was 
however, remarks Tillemont, time enough to bring 
her relics to Rome, between the cessation of the per- 
secutions and the pontificate of Symmachus, and the 
fact of no one having heard of this Translation, does 
not prevent its having taken place. It is astounding 
to find so intelligent and learned a man as Tillemont 
ignorant of the fact that the very existence of a 
Church of St. Cecilia in Rome, is a sufficient proof 
that she lived in that city ; yet Tillemont must have 
known that at the period of which he was writing, 
the canonical rules forbade the erecting of churches 
in honor of saints, except in those places where their 
relics reposed, or which had been sanctified by their 
lives and sufferings. Now, in the time of Pope Sym- 
machus, the virgin's body was reposing in the Cata- 
combs; the trans-Tiberian Basilica was, therefore a 
monument which commemorated her residence in 
Eome, and also, as we learn from her Acts, and from 
tradition, marked the place of her martyrdom. It 
was, therefore, useless to imagine the translation of 
Cecilia's body, together with those of her companions, 
from the isle of Sicily to the Catacombs of Rome, 
unless the origin of this church was first accounted 
for. We are perfectly willing to agree that the 
bodies of foreign martyrs were brought to Rome after 
the persecution, and deposited in the Catacombs, pro- 
vided it be proved that previous to this time, no 
church in Rome had been dedicated to them. But 
we have lost sufficient time over these Jansenistic 
fancies. Their boldness and cunning will not sur- 
prise those who are acquainted with the subterfuges 


of this wily sect ; but the above remarks may pre- 
vent others less informed, from being deceived by 
the plausible statements of the Jansenist authors, who 
for more than a century, have monopolized, in France, 
the compilation of works upon the history of Christi- 



We must now consider the objections to the Acts 
of St. Cecilia, which Tillemont pretends to find in 
these Acts, considered in themselves. This discus- 
sion will not be less instructive than the preceding. 

We will begin with the critic's own words : " These 
Acts are composed of extraordinary miracles, and 
other matters which have little appearance of truth. 
The discourses are long. There are, indeed, some 
beautiful passages, evidently taken from Tertullian ; 
but he who wrote them should have learned from 
the same author to treat princes with more respect."* 

Hence, sound criticism must reject the Acts of St. 
Cecilia on account of the extraordinary miracles re- 
corded therein ! Had Tillemont plainly said that the 
conversion of the Pagan world to Christianity, was 
effected without miracles, Ave could refer him to the' 
illustrious Doctor St. Augustin, who would teach him 
that in that case, so incomprehensible a transforma- 
tion would be the greatest of miracles. But Tille- 

* Memoirs, tome in. page 089. 


mont does not deny miracles in general ; he merely 
distinguishes between those which he calls extraordi- 
nary, and those which he deems ordinary. Unfortun- 
nately, he has left us no theoretical rules whereby we 
may discern one from the other. We have no re- 
source left but to study his manner of appreciating 
supernatural facts. 

Let us first remark that this critic admits all the 
miracles contained in the genuine Acts of Dom 
Euinart. He cannot, however, deny that this authen- 
tic collection contains many miracles more extraor- 
dinary^ to use his own expression, than those related 
in the Acts of St. Cecilia. The latter are among the 
most simple recorded in the annals of primitive 
Christianity. Nothing more than the apparition of 
St. Paul and several visions of Angels. We learn 
from Origen, who wrote at that time, and who was 
certainly not a weak minded man, that such appari- 
tions were very frequent. Tertullian, a contemporary 
of Origen, attests that the greater part of those who 
embraced Christianity were converted by visions.* 

Tillemont relates and admits all the facts of this 
nature mentioned in the Acts of Sts. Vincent, Agnes, 
Theodotus of Ancyra, etc. Most of these appari- 
tions are much more marvellous than those recorded 
in the Acts of- St. Cecilia. Is it reasonable then to 
contest the latter ? Beside the apparitions there is no 
mention in the Acts of any miracle except the 
prolongation of Cecilia's life after the severe wounds 
inflicted by the lictor's sword. Were these wounds 

* Major pene vis liominum visionibus Deum discunt De 
anima, cap xlvii. 


sufficiently serious to produce death in a short time? 
We think so. But, however this may be, it should 
not surprise Tillemont who must remember that the 
Acts of Dom Euinart, all of which he admits, 
frequently speak of Martyrs, whose bodies, rendered 
invulnerable by divine power, resisted all torments ; 
whose dislocated limbs and gaping wounds were 
often suddenly and miraculously healed, filling the 
Pagans with rage and confusion. 

The principles of the Port Eoyal School paved the 
way for those of anti-christian rationalism. To refuse 
to believe in miracles because they are extraordinary, 
is senseless logic, since a miracle is only a miracle 
from the fact of being extraordinary. For this reason, 
supernatural facts are not proved by internal evidence, 
but by human testimony. Can we measure the limits 
of God's Omnipotence ? What answer will Tillemont 
make to those whose rejection of the Bible, is grounded 
on the very argument which he addresses against the 
truth of Cecilia's Acts, viz. : that the miracles men- 
tioned therein, are too extraordinary to be believed ? 

Our critic brings forward the lengthy discourses 
in the Acts of St. Cecilia, as another argument 
against them. He probably desires to infer that 
such lengthy discourses could not have been pre- 
served; but this reasoning might carry him too far. 
To be consistent, he must begin by rejecting the 
genuine Acts of Saints Pionius, Victor of Marseilles, 
Philip of Heraclius, Patrick, etc, all of which he 
admits, and which, nevertheless, contain longer dis- 
courses than those of St. Cecilia's Acts. 

Even though it be granted for a moment that 


these discourses have no historical value, would this 
concession invalidate the Acts themselves? This 
would be treating the Acts of the Martyrs with more 
severity than has ever been shown to any of the 
historians of antiquity. The latter have embellished 
their writings with harangues of their own composi- 
tion ; no one ever questioned their veracity on this 
account. Is historical pyrrhonism to be our rule, 
only when examining the history of Christianity ? 

The sole discourse of considerable length in the Acts, 
is the harangue to Tiburtius, when Cecilia explains 
to him the Christian faith. Tiburtius may have 
committed this discourse to writing. It would not 
be the first time that a man has thus preserved words 
which have deeply impressed his mind and heart. In 
such occasions, which are not so rare as Tillemont 
imagines, the memory may sometimes be at fault ; 
but the writer who has thus noted down his remem- 
brances, knows that his account is a faithful one, be- 
cause it gives the sense of the discourse and the 
thoughts which have most forcibly struck him. 
Besides, this speech had an historical bearing ; the 
conversion of Tiburtius, which was due to Cecilia, 
was an event in the history of the Eoman Church, 
and well merited a page in the annals of Christian 
Borne. Would it not be more surprising if it had 
not been handed down to posterity ? 

The rest of the Acts contain rather dialogues than 
discourses. The questions and replies in the interro- 
gatory do not exceed the length of those found in the 
Acts published by Dom Euinart. Valerian's parable 
is long ; but improvisations of equal length are fre 


quently found in the most authentic interrogatories. 
The Registrars noted down all that the martyrs said ; 
whilst the notaries of the Church compiled their Acts 
upon notes made by faithful persons, accustomed to 
the charge ; in many cases, the official interrogatories 
were purchased with money. The Christians valued 
every word uttered by the martyrs before the judges, 
considering them as inspired by the Holy Ghost, ac- 
cording to the promise of our Saviour in the Gospel : 
"And you shall be brought before governors, and 
before kings, for my sake. But when they shall 
deliver you up, be not thoughtful how or what to 
speak; for it shall be given you in that hour what 
to speak. For it is not you that speak, but the spirit 
of your Father that speaketh in you."* 

Tillemont could not avoid seeing the beauty of our 
Acts, and the acknowledgement of it involuntarily 
escaped his pen ; but he found an ingenious means 
of turning this remark against the probity of the 
historian: " There are some beautiful passages," he 
says, " but evidently taken from Tertullian," imply- 
ing that the narrator made use of Tertullian in com- 
posing the speeches of his heroes. It is very true 
that some points of resemblance may be found between 
the Apology of the eloquent African and the dia- 
logues and responses of the interrogatories ; but what 
inference can be drawn from this except an additional 
confirmation of the truth of the Acts ? 

At this time, all Rome was speaking of that mag- 
nificent Defence of Christianity, which, combining 
all the arguments of preceding Apologies, had ele- 

* Matt, x 18-20. 


"vated the Christian cause to the highest degree of 
moral grandeur. It was only natural, therefore, that 
the Christians, in their replies to the magistrates of 
the Empire, should repeat the energetic sentences 
which had so lately thrilled the Senate. Our heroes 
were contemporaries of Tertullian, and, consequently, 
might have spoken like him ; but we find it difficult 
to believe that the compiler of the Acts, whose care- 
less and unadorned style bears no resemblance to the 
powerful diction of the Apology, could even have 
conceived the idea of borrowing from such a master- 

Tillemont considers Cecilia's manner of addressing 
the prefect, and her invectives against the princes, 
another improbable circumstance. Her freedom of 
language scandalized him, and we can readily under- 
stand that more than one Catholic in the reign of 
Louis XIV., thought it a sufficient argument for 
rejecting Acts in which Christian liberty is so fear- 
lessly proclaimed. This may be accounted for by a 
confusion of ideas which had become prevalent, re- 
specting the spirit and manners of the early Christ- 
ians, a confusion which still exists in many minds. 
A more liberal appreciation of the actions and words 
of the saints, would have enabled the world to under- 
stand, that if it be glorious to suffer death with the 
meekness of a lamb, led to the slaughter,* it is no 
less glorious to protest against iniquity, and to de 
nounce to earthly rulers, the nullity of their rights, 
and the injustice of their actions, when they use 
against God and His Church, that power which they 

* Isaiah, liii. 7. 


could not have received unless it had been given 
them from above. 

Moreover, Cecilia did not in her energetic replies, 
spit in the face of her judge, as Eulalia did ;* nor did 
she, like St Andronicus, answer the prefect who re- 
proached him with insulting the Emperors : " Yes, I 
have cursed and will curse these Emperors who 
overturn the world in their thirst for blood. May 
God overthrow them with His mighty arm ; may He 
crush and annihilate them ; may He visit them with 
His anger, that they may know of what crimes they 
are guilty in persecuting the Christians."! 

Is it necessary to give other examples? Julian, 
uncle of the Apostate, and created by him governor 
of the province of the East, when cruelly tormenting 
St. Theodoret, a priest of the Church of Antiocb, 
dared to demand his obedience to the Emperor's 
edict, by quoting the following text of Scripture : 
" The hearts of kings are in the hand of God." The 
martyr replied : " These words are written of a king 
who knows and serves God, but not of a tyrant who 
adores and serves idols." "Fool!" exclaimed the 
governor, " doyou dare to call the emperor a tyrant ?"J 

* Martyr ad ista nihil : sed enim 
Infremit, inque tyranni oculos 
Sputa jacit. 
Ruinart. Acta sincera. Martyrium S. 'Eulalice Virginia, p. 499. 
\ Ego maledixi et inaledico potestates, et sanguibibulos qui 
saeculum everterunt, quos Deus brachio suo alto evertat, et 
conterat, et perdat, et det super eos iram ; ut seiant quid agant 
in servos Dei. Ruinart. Acta SS. Taracki, Prohi ei Andronici^ 
page 487. 

t Julianus dixit : Vol nunc time deOS, et fao qua al> Impera- 
tore sunt jussa, quia soriptum est tibi : Cor. regis in man* Dei, 
Theodoritus respondit : Cos Regis cognosoentie Deum soriptum 


14 If he gives such orders as you say, and if he be the 
man you represent him," answered Theodoret, " he 
is not only a tyrant, but the most wretched of men." 
Christian liberty was no less fearlessly asserted in 
the peaceful days that succeeded the age of -Persecu- 
tions. Saint Hilary of Poitiers, in his sublime invec- 
tive against Constantius, branded this prince with 
the name of tyrant, and did not fear to add : " What 
I say to thee, Constantius, I would have said to Nero. 
Decius and Maximian* should have heard it from my 
lips." We find in every century, similar traits of 
courage. The recital of them would startle the uni- 
versal effeminacy of the present generation. We 
need to study diligently, the manners of our ances- 
tors in the faith, who so generously defended that 
precious deposit, which we find it so difficult to pre- 
serve. These public protestations of Christian liberty, 
far exceed Cecilia's courageous replies to Almachius, 
which Tillemont considers a proof of the falsity of 
her Acts. He nevertheless, defends the holy audacity 
of St. Andronicus, and is only scandalized when he 
encounters that same audacity in a much milder 
form in the Acts of St. Cecilia. We will cite his 
own words : " We find in nearly all the authentic 
histories of the martyrs, now extant, that they were 
very respectful to the sovereign powers, and practised 

est esse in manu Dei, non cor tyranni adorantis idola. Julianus 
dixit : Stulte, tyrannum vocas Imperatorem. Theodoritus res- 
pondit : Si talia jubet, et talis est ut dicis : non solum tyrannus 
ditendus est, sed miserrimus omnium hominum. Passio sancti 
2'heodoriti, page 659. 

* Proclamo tibi, Constanti, quod Neroni locuturus fuissem, 
quod ex me Decius et Maximianus audiront. Adversus Constant 
tium, lib. i. page 113. 


that meekness so frequently recommended by St. Paul. 
But St. Paul himself fearlessly called his judge a whited 
wall, and threatened him with the anger of God. St. 
Stephen, and even our Saviour, speak to the Jews 
with seeming harshness. The frightful cruelties 
practised against the Christians were sufficient to ex- 
cite the just indignation of the martyrs. These 
Saints hated what God hates, without losing their 
repose and tranquillity of soul, and they are not to 
be blamed for expressing their condemnation of what 
they felt to be wrong. We speak of the fire, as well 
as of the oil, of charity ; and the more justice is loved, 
the greater zeal and horror is felt for injustice. It 
is certain that God acted and suffered too visibly in 
His saints, to permit us to doubt for a moment that 
His spirit was with them, according to His promise. 
Therefore we cannot but respect the apparent harsh- 
ness of their words, although this harshness should 
not be unadvisedly imitated, lest impatience, bitter- 
ness, or hatred, rather than zeal for God and for jus- 
tice, should actuate us in following this example of 
the Saints."* 

In thus exposing the entire system of Tillemont 
in its bearing upon the Acts of St. Cecilia, we think 
we have enabled the reader to estimate the value 
of the criticism and the intention of the critic. We 
are writing in a country where many honest men 
persist in considering Jansenism as only a system 
of exaggerated morality. This is not the place to 
explain to such men to what an extent the dogmas 

* Memoires pour servir a l'Histoire Boclesiastique, tom<> v., 
page 286. 



of this sect, condemned by the Church, are opposed 
to Catholicity. Let them study the history of Catho- 
lic truth and the perils to which it has been exposed 
from a heresy which so artfully insinuates the most 
odious theories of Calvin. In a question of mere 
criticism, our duty is simply to remove all doubts 
concerning the truth of an historical narrative, dear 
to the Church and to the faithful at all times, for the 
santification of Christian souls. It does not enter 
into our plan to expose the reasons which have in- 
duced the Jansenists to suppress all the precious, 
charming, and soul-inspiring traditions offered by the 
Catholic Church to her children ; we prefer con- 
cluding this chapter with the beautiful words of St. 
Paul to the Philippians : " Finally, brethren, what- 
soever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, 
whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are 
pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things 
are of good report ; if there be any virtue, and if 
there be any praise, think on these things." Phil, 
iv., 8. 



It is refreshing to return from the field of contro- 
versy and rest for a moment under the shadow of our 
dear Basilica, so justly proud of its noble treasure. 
In the first half of the eighteenth century, it was 
entrusted to two titulary Cardinals, who gloried in 


imitating the munificence of Paul Emilius Sfondrato. 
The first was Francis Aquaviva, born of an illustrious 
Neapolitan family. Before receiving the purple, he 
had occupied with distinction several important offices 
of the Eoman Court. He was sent as Nuncio to 
Spain, where he faithfully fulfilled the duties of his 
elevated and important mission. He was residing in 
that country when the war of the Succession broke 
out. Aquaviva embraced the cause of Philip V., 
who reposed such confidence in his devotedness and 
firmness, that at one time, when he was trembling 
for his crown, he entrusted to the Nuncio's care the 
Queen Maria Louisa of Savoy. Aquaviva, with an 
escort of five hundred cavaliers, traversed the hostile 
territory, and never left the queen until he had placed 
her in safety from the scene of war* 

Created Cardinal by Clement on the 17th of May u 
1706, he was at first appointed Titulary of St. Bar- 
tholomew's Church on the island; but three years 
after > he changed this church for that of St. Cecilia, 
on account of his great devotion to this holy Martyr. 
The Basilica at this period needed a restoration 
which Aquaviva executed according to the prevail- 
ing taste. Sfondrato had at one time conceived the 
idea of concealing the wood work of the nave by a 
rich soffit, ornamented with gilded panels and paint- 
ings; but he was deterred by the fear that the columns 
were not sufficiently strong to support this additional 
weight. Aquaviva made the experiment and suc- 
ceeded perfectly. The soffit, which still exists, was 

* Gtuarnaooi, tome li., p. 73. 


painted and decorated by Sebastian Conca * Un- 
fortunately it was impossible to execute the plan 
without nearly destroying the antique and venerable 
aspect of the Basilica. The columns were totally 
concealed by heavy masonry, and the nave was trans- 
formed into a series of arches. The triumphal arch 
was sacrificed together with its mosaics; and the 
paintings representing the succession of the Popes, 
and scenes from the Old and New Testament, painted 
by order of Psfechal and restored by Sfondrato, were 
irretrievably annihilated "to the deep regret of the 
amateurs of venerable antiquity," says Marangoni, 
who witnessed this deplorable ruin. This same 
author likewise tells us that the antique inscriptions 
forming the pavement, many of which were Chris- 
tian, w r ere pitilessly destroyed.f This restoration, 
m which might have been more wisely planned, was 
nevertheless a testimony of the Cardinal's devotion 
to Saint Cecilia. He faithfully prayed at the mar- 
tyr's tomb, and had the consolation of seeing his own 
mother and his niece join the community of religious 
who took charge of this sanctuary. He w r as so re- 
nowned for his piety towards the illustrious virgin, 
that the Queen of Spain desiring to offer him a pre- 
sent as a proof of her esteem and gratitude, sent him a 
picture of St. Cecilia which she had painted herself.^ 

* Platner and Bunsen err in attributing the destruction of the 
portico paintings, and the taking away of the ambons, to the 
two Cardinals Aquaviva. 

| Non senza dolore degliamanti della venerabile antichita. 
Marangoni Cose gentilesche ad uso delle chiese, p. 311. 

t For this fact see Laderchi in his dedicatory epistle of the 
Acts of St. Cecilia to the same Cardinal. 


The great works undertaken in the Basilica by- 
Paul Emilius Sfondrato, had inspired Bosio with the 
idea of editing his Acts of St. Cecilia; the labors of 
Francis Aquaviva suggested to James Laderchi of 
the Roman Oratory, the thought of offering the 
Cardinal a more complete life of the holy Martyr. 
His intention was to insert, century by century, all 
that had been written concerning St. Cecilia, the 
whole to be comprised in three quarto volumes ; only 
the first two appeared. They are entitled : S. Caeci- 
liae Virginiset Marty ris Acta et trans-Tiberina Basi- 
lica, sseculorum singulorum monumentis asserta et 
illustrata, 1723. The author reproduces Bosio's work, 
literally introducing, in chronological order, all the 
documents and quotations which refer to his subject. 
This work, which has become very rare even in 
Italy, is remarkable for its typographical beauty ; it 
is much to be regretted that the two volumes given 
to the public, do not bring us down to the Invention 
of Cecilia's body in 1599. The notes added by the 
compiler, are unfortunately few in number. The 
third volume was intended to embrace many details, 
the loss of which we must deeply regret. Notwith- 
standing this, Laderchi merits, by this important 
compilation, a distinguished place among the authors 
who have dedicated their efforts to the glory of 
Saint Cecilia. Two years had scarcely elapsed after 
the publication of the first volume of this work, 
when Francis Aquaviva died, on the eighth of Janu- 
ary, 1725. He had been elevated to the Suburbioary 
Bishopric of Sabina ; but Benedicl XIIL had per- 
mitted him to retain in commcmlam, as Paul Kmilius 



Sfondrato had done, the Presbyterial Title of St 
Cecilia. Aquaviva was interred in this Church near 
his uncle, Cardinal Octavio who had been Titulary 
of the Basilica in the preceding century. The follow- 
ing epitaph was placed over his tomb : 














Trojano Aqua viva, a nephew of Francis, was pro- 
moted to the Cardinalate by Clement XII., on the 1st 
October, 1732. The same Pope appointed him 
Titulary of St. Cecilia.* He appears to have con- 
tinued the works commenced by his uncle in the 
Basilica ; it is certain that the exterior porch, which 
was constructed upon the plan of Ferdinand Fuga, 
is due to his munificence.f The porch is quite 
modern, but not wanting in grandeur. We should 
at least give credit to the different restorers of the 
Basilica, for having respected the old brick cupola 

* He died on the 21st of March. 1747, and was buried in the 
Church of St. Cecilia. 

t Platner and Bunsen, tome iii. p. 639. 


which towers above all their modern constructions, 
as a memorial of the devotion of the middle age 
towards Cecilia. They have also faithfully preserved 
the interior arrangement of the edifice, which even 
since the taking away of the ambons and the substi- 
tuting of arcades for columns, bears a strong resem- 
blance to the Christian Churches of the primitive 

In the year, 1729, the sanctuary of St. Cecilia, on 
the Campus Martius, attracted the attention of the 
Eoman Pontiff. The little Church was falling into 
ruins ; it needed rebuilding. Benedict XIIL, who 
proved his devotion to the Saints by many monuments 
still existing in Eome, was unwilling to yield to 
another the honor of laying the corner stone of the 
new edifice. In thus venerating the dwelling where 
Cecilia had passed her youth, he thought it his duty 
to favor the devotion testified by a confraternity in 
honor of St. Blaise, to one of the altars of this Church. 
The Pontiff ordered that the new temple should be 
placed under the joint invocation of St. Cecilia and 
St. Blaise; and as if to prove, that in admitting 
another Saint to share the honor of the great Martyr, 
he intended no disparagement to the latter, he 
decided that the Church should bear the name of the 
Queen of Virgins. From that time, it was called: 
Santa Maria del divino amove: An inscription placed 
in the nave of this Church, records the Pontiff's 
intention. It is as follows : 













The Pontiff removed to the sacristy, the charming 
fresco of the fifteenth century, which we have already 
mentioned; as well as a marble tablet discovered in 
1504, in rebuilding the principal altar of this sanc- 
tuary. This tablet bore an inscription, attesting a 
consecration of the Church of St. Cecilia de domo, on 
the Campus Martius, in the year 1131, probably the 
period at which it was rebuilt. The zeal of the pious 
confraternity, which assembled in this church, led it 
to perpetuate the memory of these facts : 









* To Benedict XIII. a great and good Pontiff, for having rebuilt 
the paternal dwelling of S. Cecilia, consecrated in honor of this 
Virgin and of St. Blaise ; for having on the 25th of July, 1729, 
solemnly laid the first stone, the ancient edifice having been 
almost entirely destroyed by the ravages of time ; and for having 
decreed that the Church should, henceforth be dedicated to 
Mary, the Mother of God 



Another glorious fact relating to St. Cecilia and 
proving at the same time the homage rendered by- 
France to the great martyr, may be referred to the 
year 1741. Our readers have not forgotten the mys- 
terious tomb of the Callistus Cemetery, where Cecilia 
reposed for six centuries, until Paschal transferred 
her remains to the trans-Tiberian Basilica. This 
humble cell, excavated horizontally in the tufo, was 
lined with four slabs of white marble. In 1741, the 
upper one, which had been solidly fastened to the 
stone with a thick coating of lime, was the only one 

Paul Hippolytede Bovilliers, Duke of St. Aignan, 
Ambassador from the King of France to the Holy 
See, in his ardent devotion to St. Cecilia, solicited 
and obtained from Benedict XIV., the favor of re- 
moving to his private chapel in France, this piece 
of marble, which had been sanctified by the presence 
of the virgin's body. The marble was respectfully 
detached in presence of two learned Eoman archae- 
ologists, Boldetti and Marangoni, and presented to 
the Duke of St. Aignan. Guadagni, the Cardinal 
Vicar, affixed his seal to it ;f and the precious monu- 

* Benedict XIII., the Sovereign Pontiff, transferred this paint- 
ing to this place, as well as the stone attesting the consecration 
of this antique church of St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr, in the 
year 1131 ; the stone was discovered in 1504, under the main 

f The marble was in two pieces, having probably been frac- 
tured in detaching it from the wall. It was a Little over live 
feet long, and somewhat more than two feel broad. 


ment was carried to France, and deposited in the 
chapel of a castle, belonging to the family of Bovil- 
liers, where it is still preserved. We find the pre- 
ceding facts in a document of great interest under the 
name of Cardinal Guadagni * We are most happy 
to mention these testimonies of the piety of France 
towards St. Cecilia, at a period when Jansenism was 
endeavoring to blot out her very memory from 
among us. 

Tillemont's principles were carried to scandalous 
lengths by Adrian Baillet, in his " Lives of the 
Saints,'' published in 1701. A prudent and learned 
writer recently said, in regard to certain insinuations 
by which Baillet seemed desirous of sapping the 
truth of evangelical facts: " These assertions would 
be sufficient to create serious doubts respecting the 
orthodoxy of the writer, if it were not notorious that 
he has frequently sacrificed historical truth to the 
interest of the sect whose principles he advocates ; 
and were it not also well known that by his bold 
freedom of thought and expression, he prepares the 
minds of his partisans for open infidelity."f 

This is not the place to examine the character of 

. Baillet's genius, such as we find it in his biographies 

of Descartes,;]: Eicher,§ and in his account of the 

difficulties between Boniface VIII. and Philip the 

Fair;|| nor to speak of his work upon " Devotion to 

* See the certificate in Marangoni, Cose gentilesche ad uso 
delle Chiese, page 426-429. 

t Unpublished Memoirs upon the Apostolate of St. Mary 
Magdalen, vol. ii. p. 154. 

X 1691. Two volumes in 4° 

§ 1714. " " " 12° 

I 1717. " " " 12° 


the Blessed Virgin, and the veneration which should 
be paid her ;"* but we must acknowledge that his 
" Lives of the Saints," replete with erudition and 
with errors, influenced the public much more than the 
Memoirs of Tillemont. Although all the works of 
Baillet are on the Eoman Index, this author still 
ranks in France as the highest authority in all matters 
pertaining to hagiography. Happily, his influence 
has been somewhat lessened in our days by the transla- 
tion of Alban Butler's " Lives of the Saints." 

Baillet's article upon St. Cecilia, is nothing more 
than a violent tirade, in which he reproduces with 
his accustomed acrimony, the objections of Tillemont. 
We would fear to soil our pages by quoting his con- 
temptuous and disdainful expressions in speaking of 
a Spouse and Martyr of Christ, whose name is daily 
pronounced in the Holy Sacrifice. Baillet mentions, 
however, Sfondrato's discovery of Cecilia's body, and 
declares that the account of this discovery, is the 
most ancient record we have of her. But he relates 
the circumstances of this event in a very abridged 
manner ; frequently deviating from the truth, as if 
he feared to meet with some confirmation of the Acts 
whose authority he wished to destroy.f 

* 1694. Two volumes in 12° 

f The only argument produced by him against the Acts, and 
neglected by Tillemont, consists in saying: "That the Roman 
Calendar arranged under Pope Liberius, about the middle of 
the fourth century, makes no mention of Cecilia ; which show-/' 
he adds, "that she did not sutler martyrdom in Rome." It is 
easy to prove that this objection has no weight. This Calendar, 
although very valuable, does not represent the oomplete Mar- 
tyrology of the Roman Church in the fourth century. It is true 
that Cecilia is not mentioned; but neither are the holy Topes 


But the influence of Tillemont and Bailiet pro- 
duced one fatal result which they had not probably 
anticipated. Not only, thanks to their efforts, did 
the name of St. Cecilia lose in France the aureole of 
glory which had hitherto surrounded it, but the 
moment had arrived when even the Liturgy took 
part in this singular conspiracy against the holy mar- 

Until then, the Eoman tradition of the Divine 
Office had held full sway in France, and, conse- 
quently, the glory of Cecilia shone with undiminished 
lustre within the precincts of the Church. But in 
the eighteenth century, the French Liturgy was 
revised, and all those saints excluded who were 
not honorably mentioned by Tillemont and Bailiet. 

In 1680, the Archbishop of Paris, F?anoois de 
Harley, had appointed a committee to correct the 
Breviary of his church. The Abbe Chastelain, who 
was the soul of this committee, insisted upon retain- 
ing the record of St. Cecilia's life, with the Anthems 
and Eesponses taken from her Acts. This will not 
appear strange, if we remember the intimacy exist- 
ing between Chastelain and Father Papebrook, both 
bold critics, but far removed from the scandalous 
audacity of the Jansenistic school. The Jesuits of 
Anvers, as we before stated, had pronounced in favor 

Linus, Cletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Telesphorus, Hyginus, 
Anicetus, Soter, Eleutherius, etc., nor the holy martyrs Proces- 
sus and Martinian, Nereus and Achilleus, Primus and Felicianus, 
Marcellinus and Peter, Boniface, Chrysogonus, etc., nor the 
holy virgins, Flavia, Domitilla, Petronilla, Prisca, Praxedes, 
Pudentiana, etc., nor the holy women Symphorosa, Felicitas, etc. 
Bailiet agrees, nevertheless, that all these saints belonged to 
the Church of Rome. 


of our Acts, that they were both ancient and genuine. 
Owing to the influence of these two learned and 
strong-minded men, the record of St. Cecilia's life 
was retained in the Parisian Liturgy.* 

But when this generation of learned men had de- 
scended into the tomb, and when the Church of Paris 
had called upon sectaries to revise her Breviary, all 
the Catholic traditions relating to St. Cecilia were 
sacrificed. The instincts of the sect and the oracles 
of Port Eoyal, required it. The Parisian Breviary 
of 1736, contained a record of St. Cecilia's life, which 
was successively introduced into the greater number 
of the Dioceses of France. In it, the actions of St. 
Cecilia are passed over in silence. There is some 
mention in the latter part, of the Invention of Ceci- 
lia's body by Sfondrato, but it is given according to 
the inaccurate relation of Bailiet. 

From that time, these heroic scenes, blotted out 
from the Breviary of the priests, were never recalled 
to the memory of the faithful. The abridged L 
of the- Saints were thenceforth compiled according to 
the same plan, and we are fully aware that our 
attempt to avenge an insult offered as much to history 
as to the Roman Church, will awaken much surprise 
in the breasts of our readers. Such is the legitimate 
fruit of that artful silence which the Jansenistfl bo 
often employed, and with so much success. 

The ill-will of modern liturgists was not satisfied 

* About the time of the publication of Harlay'fl Breviary, 
Santeuil published several hymns for the Offloe of St. Cecilia, 
They are not among his best compositions, but they al least 
celebrate the virtues and actions of the holy martyr ftOOOrding to 
the facts recorded in her Acts. 


with effacing the account of Cecilia's virtues and 
actions from the French Breviary, it also strove to 
despoil the modest virgin of the beautiful title of 
Queen of Harmony, with which for nearly three cen- 
turies, Catholic piety had loved to salute her. The 
Abbe Lebeuf, composer of the new French Liturgi- 
cal music, was the first to dispute Cecilia's title to the 
crown of harmony. In a memoir, under the form of 
an anonymous letter inserted in the Mercurede France* 
this academician, who is celebrated for his erudition, 
assumed the very easy task of demonstrating that in 
the Acts of St. Cecilia, there is nothing to prove that 
she ever performed upon any musical instrument ; 
but this was not the question, and we are surprised 
that an antiquarian, like Lebeuf, should have found 
it necessary to waste so much time in proving to us 
that the symbolical attributes assigned to the saints, 
by Christian artists, have not always their origin in 
history. Determined to seek material reasons for a 
fact which springs only from sentiment, the Abbe 
Lebeuf, after criticising the Acts of St. Cecilia, in 
Tillemont's spirit, and often in Tillemont's own 
words, comes to the conclusion that the idea of styl- 
ing St. Cecilia patroness of music, arises from the 
fact that one of the Anthems in her Office commen- 
ces with these words : Cantantibus organis. He then 
seeks the origin of this Anthem in that passage of 
the Acts which speaks of the musical concert at the 
wedding feast of Valerian and Cecilia. He did not 
comprehend the meaning of these touching words: 
11 During the concert, Cecilia sang also in her heart to 

* Jan. 1732, pages 21-46. 


the Lord." He understood nothing of that melody 
of the soul which ascends to the Divine fountain 
of all harmony, and sings to its Creator, even amidst 
the profane concerts of earth. He translates the sen- 
tence in the following manner: "Cecilia paid no 
attention to the music, but was interiorly absorbed 
in God ;" and he even pities those who blend the 
idea of harmony with Cecilia's name. In his zeal 
for reformation, he offers musicians their choice 
among the following patrons : St. Arnold of Juliers, 
Sts. Dunstan, Ado, Nizier, Gall and Prix of Clermont, 
Germain of Paris, and Aldric of Mans. The Abbe 
forgets none but St. Gregory the Great ; however this 
omission can scarcely surprise us in the avowed 
enemy of the Gregorian chant. 

We do not dwell upon the tone of superiority with 
which the Abbe Lebeuf criticises and censures all 
that was composed before his time ; happily, Chris- 
tian instinct has preserved what the Abbe would 
have gladly annihilated, and notwithstanding his 
efforts to bury St. Cecilia in the seclusion of convents, 
with the Agneses, the Lucys, and the Agathas* of 
antiquity, the Roman virgin still retains one of her 
most touching prerogatives. The Abbe did not suc- 
ceed better in pointing out the period when she was 
first honored as patroness of music ; according to him 
it was about the beginning of the seventeenth cen- 
tury.f On being reminded that Raphael's St. Ce- 
cilia, painted in 1513, represents her seated, with a 
musical instrument resting upon her knees, while her 
soul is absorbed in listening to the concert of angels, 

* Page 43. t Pag* 24. 


he was somewhat embarrassed ; but he defended him- 
self in a second letter* by saying that he knew the 
picture perfectly well, and that he had had reference 
to it, when he asserted that St. Cecilia was first pro- 
claimed patroness of music in Italy. This reply 
did not, however, vindicate the learned academician 
from the charge of anachronism. 

Besides, Eaphael was not the only artist of the 
sixteenth century who represented St. Cecilia with 
the attributes of music. At the same period, the 
German artist, Laike of Leyden, painted her, accom- 
panied by an angel holding a little organ upon which 
she plays. The picture is in the royal gallery at 
Munich. About the middle of the same century, 
Garofolo painted a magnificent picture in which he 
represents St. Cecilia playing the organ in presence 
of the Blessed Virgin and St. Anthony of Padua.f 

We have yet to show the facts which characterize 
the progress of hagiographical writings throughout 
the eighteenth century, relative to the Acts of St. 
Cecilia. We shall begin with the Bollandists. Pape- 
brok was no more, but his successors continued with 

* Mercure de France, June, 1732, pages 1081-1088. 

t St. Cecilia was acknowledged patroness of music long before 
the foundation of the Academies of Music which were placed 
under her protection. Nevertheless, we see in the year 1601, a 
celebrated musical confraternity at Rouen bearing the title of 
St. Cecilia, upon a deed by which they renew their previous 
statutes. (Ouin Lacroix. Histoire des corporations et des con- 
freries de Rouen, page 453.) At the same period, the musicians 
of Rouen established their Academy of St. Cecilia. (Alfieri, 
Notizie storiche sulla Congregazione et Academia di Santa Cecilia, 
and an excellent article of M. Morelot, in the Revue de Musique 
religieuse de M. Danjou, November, 1845. 


zeal and erudition the great work to which he has 
so gloriously attached his name. It was not, how- 
ever, until the nineteenth century, that they were 
ready to enter into the lists with Tillemont and 
Baillet on the controverted question of St. Cecilia's 
Acts, which the authority of the two learned Jansen- 
ists seemed to have settled forever in Catholic France. 
We see the sad influence of these hagiographers in 
the following fact. When Father du Sollier pub- 
lished his edition of Usuard's Martyrology, he spoke 
of the Acts of St. Cecilia with moderation, indeed, 
since he could not forget the respect which he owed 
to his predecessors, Henschenius and Papebrok, but 
at the same time, with a reserve which proved the 
influence exercised by the boldness of French criti- 
cism over the best disposed minds. When speaking 
of the martyrdom of Sts. Tiburtius and Valerian, the 
learned Jesuit contents himself with remarking that 
this is not the place to enter into a discussion 
which properly belongs to the Acts of St. Cecilia.* 
He repeats the same assertion when relating the 
martyrdom of St. Urban. f But when he comes at 
length to St. Cecilia, he merely lays before its the 
controversy concerning her Acts, without entering 
into a discussion of its merits. Tillemont's objection 
as to the improbability of a persecution against the 
Christians under Alexander Severus, seems to make 

* Neclocusliic, necotmm est controversion! [11am expendere, de 
qua in Actis nostris disputari poterit xxii. Novembris. Solh rc'**. 
Martyr ologium Usuardi illustratum, tome i., page 210, 

f Ne quid hid temore definiamus, aut extra propositnm eyage- 

mur, omnia tutius ad xxii. Novembris, de Lutegro cxaminaiida 
explicandaque re mittimus. Ibid* page 294. 


some impression on his mind :* " however," he frankly 
adds, " the opinion of Baronius, of Florentini, of the 
others whom I have cited, and of the whole 
Catholic world, are all in favor of the Acts of St. 
Cecilia.f With respect to Tillemont's idea of call- 
ing our Saint a Sicilian virgin, on the authority 
of Fortunatus, Du Sollier considers the proposition 
perfectly paradoxical^ but, again deserting the 
arena, he refers the decision of this controversy to 
himself or his successors at a later period. 

Laderchi, more courageous and probably more 
frank than du Sollier, energetically undertook the 
defence of the Acts of Saint Cecilia, and devoted an 
essay in the work we have mentioned to this object ; 
but Tillemont and Baillet were so highly respected 
even in Italy, that he did not venture to give their 
names, although he translated their objections word 
for word. At the same time, he did not hesitate to 
attribute to the influence of Jansenism, the incredulity 
of certain men with regard to these venerable Acts, 
and asked " if the Church and historical science had de- 
finitively passed under the dominion of the new sect?" 
Francis Bianchini, in his commentary upon Anasta- 
sius, was equally sincere and firm, and brought to 

t Praecipua quae a recentioribus objicitur eaque capitalis diffi- 
cultas, in eo consistit potissimum quod ut alibi etiam insinuavi, 
Alexandrit emporibus, tain acerbaimmanisquepersecutio, qualis 
in istis Actis describitur, tarn atrocia passim tormenta Christianis 
illata, quadrare prorsus non videantur. Martyrologium Usuardi 
illustration, tome ii., page 692. 

f Pro his (Actis) cum Baronio, Florentinio, aliisque certant 
laudati scriptores, certat totius orbis catholici pervulgata opinio. 

X Paradoxamultis aeque ac mihi videtur hujusmodi sententia. 


the support of the ancient cause, the weight of his 
authority and profound erudition. He also thought 
that the opinions of Baronius, Bosio, and Papebrok, 
might be accepted without disgrace. In 1752, ap- 
peared a new champion of St. Cecilia. The learned 
Canon Moretti undertook to write the history of St. 
Caliistus and of the Basilica of St. Mary beyond the 
Tiber. The plan of this work compelled him to ex- 
amine the great controversy concerning the Martyrs 
under Alexander Severus. In so doing, this learned 
and talented man rendered an invaluable service to 
the Acts of St. Cecilia, although the question con- 
cerning them entered but indirectly into his thesis. 

The martyrdom of St. Caliistus was incontestable, 
as well as the fact that he suffered under Alexander 
Severus ; therefore, there were Martyrs in Eome even 
under this prince, otherwise so favorable to Christi- 
anity. The demonstration of this particular fact, led 
to that of the general thesis. Moretti takes up that 
thesis, and with resistless erudition, demonstrates it 
step by step, until he triumphantly settles the con- 
troversy in a manner conformable to the opinion of 
Baronius. Although Moretti had not investigated 
the Acts of St. Cecilia individually, yet his triumphant 
solution of the great question with which they arc bo 
intimately connected, tended much to prove their 

At Naples, several years previously, in 1744, the 
Acts of St. Cecilia had been directly subjected to the 
critical and literary examination of Alexia bfazochi, 
a most skilful hagiographer. His conclusions were 
far from according with those of Tillemont and 

576 LIFE 0F SAiira CECILIA. 

Baillet. In his valuable commentary upon the 
celebrated Neapolitan Calendar of the eighth century, 
Masoohi makes particular mention of certain latinisms 
in the Acts of St. Cecilia, which prove that these Acts 
date back to the fourth century. The compiler of the 
fifth, whose style is very careless, must then have made 
use of manuscripts previously written, and must 
have transcribed whole passages from them. Hence 
the Acts are not entirely his own composition. 

Mazochi then points out several incidents and 
allusions which characterize the account, and shows 
how perfectly they accord with the manners and 
language of antiquity. He accounts in several w; 
for the name of Almachius, and is far from consider- 
ing this name as an invalidation of the Acts. He 
next energetically attacks the system by which Tille- 
mont endeavors, from a single hemistich in the works 
of Fortunatus, to prove Cecilia a Sicilian. He plainly 
shows that the most conclusive evidence designates 
Rome as the theatre of the illustrious Virgin's martyr- 
dom : M To deny a fact so well attested." he remarks, 
•• is contrary to common sense, to say nothing more. 
And yet, Baillet and other Frenchmen still cling to 
Tillemont's opinion."* 

Such is Mazochi's appreciation of the Acts. The 
learned and courageous critic makes, it is true, some 
concessions to his adversaries with regard to the 
dialogues and discourses which he thinks may have 

* Rem vero ita testatam negare. id. ne quid gravius dieam, 
communi sf.nsu plane caret. Et tamen Tillemontii sententiam 
Bailletus, aliiqne passim Gallorum, adhuc admirantur. Ma- 
zockL In vetus marmorcum S. Neapolitans Ecclcsice Kalendarium 
cummentarius. Tome i, page 211. 


been interpolated ; but he forgets that the very part 
of the Acts, from which he quotes expressions to prove 
their antiquity, is precisely that of the discourses and 
dialogues. Notwithstanding these restrictions, the 
favorable judgment of Mazochi is remarkable at a 
time when the French prejudice against hagiographi- 
cal monuments was so prevalent in Europe. 

The Neapolitan author finds it difficult, however, 
to reconcile a persecution against the Christians with 
the character of Alexander Severus; yet he is un- 
willing to invalidate St. Cecilia's Acts, and therefore 
adopts the opinion of Usuard and St. Ado who refer 
her martyrdom to the reign of Marcus Aurelius. 
This involves him in some difficulty with regard to 
her interviews with Pope Urban ; but Mazochi thinks 
he can solve the problem by supposing that St. Urban 
was but a simple priest at the time of Cecil ia's 
martyrdom; and that having been appointed Pope 
about fifty years later, the actions of Urban as priest, 
were attributed to Urban as Pope.* 

This solution, although more ingenious than satis- 
factory, is at least a proof of the seriousness with 
which Mazochi studied Cecilia's Acts. Nor is it more 
fanciful than that which was proposed later by the 
learned Jesuit, Lesley, in his commentary upon the 
Mozarabic Missal, published in 1755. This critic, 
also desirous to place St. Cecilia's martyrdom under 
Marcus Aurelius, after relating Mazochi's theory, 
proposes his own. It consists in admitting that 
Bishops were established in the Pagi around Rome, 
and that St. Urban was probably Bishop of a Pagus 

* Mazochi. Pages 211, 212. 


on the Appian Way, during the reign of Marcus 
Aurelius* Unfortunately, no one has ever heard 
of Bishops being established in the Pagi of the envi- 
rons of Eome, and an explanation based upon so 
gratuitous a conjecture, cannot have much weight.f 
Had the Acts ot St. Cecilia been more thoroughly 
studied, learned men would have perceived that the 
persecution mentioned in them, was precisely such as 
might have been expected in the reign of such a 
prince as Alexander Severus. The unity, the proba- 
bility, and the natural succession of the various inci- 
dents, all perfectly in accordance with what we should 
expect in the reign of a prince, who, though tolerant 
to the Christians, was weak, and served by magis- 
trates who despised them ; were above the comprehen- 
sion of an author so simple hearted as the compiler 
of the Acts in the fifth century. His n arration proves, 
therefore, the existence of previous memoirs from 
which he gives his details. If our Martyrs had 
suffered during the persecution of Marcus Aurelius 
and Commodus, in consequence of an edict issued by* 
these Emperors, the conduct of the Eoman Prefect, 
his trial of the culprits, and Cecilia's death, would 
have presented a totally different character. But if 
it be granted, on the contrary, that this great drama 
took place during the reign of Alexander Severus, 
then, all that would appear extraordinary under a 
persecuting Emperor, becomes perfectly natural ; we 
feel that the events could not have been different. 
But this method of appreciating an historical 

* Missale mixtum, dictum Mozarabes, prsefatione, notis et ap- 
pendice ornatum, page G08. 

| Sue Riccy. Pago Lemonio, page 104. 


document, was not familiar to the hagiographers of 
the period ; and we are therefore deeply indebted to 
Mazochi and Lesley for having seriously defended 
the Acts of St. Cecilia at a time when it required no 
little courage to contest even the most trifling of 
Tillemont's decisions in regard to monuments which 
had once been universally respected. The gravity 
of the narrative, the universal assent of all nations, the 
palpable facts stated in the account of the two Inven- 
tions, every thing, even to the philological study of 
the Acts, had induced these learned men to accept a 
document which seemed to them so worthy of respect; 
their only study was to fix the date of the events 
mentioned in it ; we have just explained why they 
were deceived as to the period of Cecilia's martyrdom. 
The close of the eighteenth century, beheld the 
persecuted successors ofBollandus, wandering through 
the world, without a resting place. These noble exiles 
took refuge for some time in the abbey of Tougerloo. 
Whilst there, they published in 1794, the sixth vol- 
ume of the Acts of the Saints, for October. It contai oed 
the Acts of St. Callistus, whose festival falls on the 
14th of October. This article was compiled by James 
de Buc, one of the Bollandists. He openly adopted 
Moretti's conclusions, and the famous question which 
had puzzled du Sollier, was finally decided according 
to Baronius and our Acts. In 1845, the Bollandists 
resumed their work amidst the applause of Europe. 
After fifty years of suspension, the seventh and eighth 
volumes appeared. May heaven grant that the present 
editors may bring the immortal work to a glorious 
conclusion, and avenge the Arts of St. Cecilia in a 


manner worthy of the erudition and piety of the 
illustrious Society of Jesus ! 

We have still to speak of a celebrated English 
hagiographer, Alban Butler, whose work is known in 
France under the name of Godescard, Canon of Saint 
Honore, who translated and completed it. This book 
neither merits the great reputation which it has 
obtained, nor the contempt with which it is now 
frequently treated. We shall only dwell upon the 
carelessness with which the question concerning St. 
Cecilia, is examined. Butler and Godescard, gener- 
ally so eager to seek and cite every work, treating 
of the Saints, consulted neither Bosio nor Laderchi. 
In 1763, they seemed to consider the question as 
finally settled. Had not the French Liturgists de- 
cided it ? They therefore merely state that the Acts 
of St. Cecilia are of little authority, an observation 
which they attempt to justify by a short exposition 
of Tillemont's assertions ; they agree, however, that 
there may have been Martyrs under Alexander 

The inconceivable carelessness with which this 
notice was compiled, is clearly proved by the follow- 
ing phrase : " We learn from the Acts of St. Cecilia, 
that in chanting the praises of God, she frequently 
added instrumental to vocal music."* Hence, it is 
clear that Butler and Godescard, before compiling St. 
Cecilia's life, had not even taken the trouble to read 
her Acts, since these do not contain a single expres- 
sion which could lead to such a conclusion. The 
only authority which these learned men could allege, 

* Vies des Peres et dea Martyrs, tome xi. an 22 Novembre. 


in favor of the fact they thus advance, is the legiti- 
mate license with which artists have represented St. 
Cecilia playing upon musical instruments, to indicate 
that she is patroness of Music. They might have 
shown at least some deference for Acts which were 
written nearly a thousand years before the paintings 
in question were executed.* 

In concluding this chapter upon the events relating 
to the Holy Martyr throughout the eighteenth century, 
we again gladly take refuge in our dear Basilica, the 
history of which is so intimately united with that of 
St. Cecilia. 

Whilst the erudites were agitating the learned 
questions we have mentioned, multiplied homages 
of piety were offered the illustrious Virgin. The 
trans-Tiberian Basilica was devoutly visited by 
pilgrims ; and the devotion of the Eomans to this 
august sanctuary and the valuable treasures it con- 
tained, had not grown cold. Among all Cecilia's 
clients, towards the end of the eighteenth century, the 
pious Joseph Mazzolari held the first place. He was 
a member of the Society of Jesus, before its suppres- 
sion. He was a distinguished scholar and full of zeal 
for the glory of the Blessed Virgin and the Saints. 
This zeal led him to write under the assumed 
name of Mariano Partenio. Among the Ciceronian 
harangues found in his literary works, there is one, 
styled pro domo Lauretana^ which he caused to be 

* Tabaraud, the author of the article upon St. Cecilia, in fa 
Biographic universale, has merely abridged the notice of Butler 
and Godescard ; but he faithfully quotes the Bentenoe in frhioh 
these two authors assert that Cecilia's prolieieney in musio, is 
formally expressed in her Acts. 

\ Mazzolari opera, tome i. 


engraved upon a plate of silver as an offering to the 
sanctuary of our Lady of Loretto. He particularly 
venerated the Martyrs of Rome, and it was principally 
on account of this devotion, that he published a little 
work entitled Diario sagro ; * but Cecilia was Mazzo- 
lari's special favorite. Through his exertions, an 
Italian translation of her Acts was published in 
Eome,f in 1775, preceded by a preface proving their 

In the year 1785, Mazzolari, at his own expense, 
caused the fresco, representing upon one of its com- 
partments Cecilia's interment, and upon the other 
her apparition to Paschal, to be detached from the 
exterior portico of the Basilica. He removed this 
valuable painting to the interior of the Church, 
placed it in front of the large altar, and added to it 
the following inscription : 








* An interesting edition of this work appeared at Rome, in 
1805, with excellent notes by Adami. 

f In 8°, chez Solomoni. 

X That this very ancient monument of the Invention and De- 
position of the holy Spouse of Christ, the illustrious Martyr, St. 
Cecilia, might not be totally destroyed by the inclemency of the 
weather, Joseph Mariano Partenio, through devotion to the 
holy virgin and martyr, removed it from the portico to this 
place, a. d., 1785. 


This was not the only proof of Mazzolari's devotion 
to St. Cecilia. He thought that Paschal's document, 
in which the holy Pope describes the apparition of 
the illustrious virgin, should be publicly exposed in 
the Basilica. He had it engraved, therefore, upon a 
large white marble tablet, and placed it opposite the 
antique fresco of which we have just spoken. It 
bears the following inscription : 




A third memorial of Mazzolari's devotion to St. 
Cecilia, was a large silver gilt heart, which was 
placed near the Confession. The following words 
are engraved upon it : 




D. D. 





While these pious offerings were being placed 
upon Cecilia's tomb, disastrous days wore looming 

* This letter was copied from a manuscript of the Vatican, 
Joseph Mariano Partenio caused it to be engraved A. D. L786. 

f Joseph Mariano Partenio dedicated this heart to the holy 
Virgin and invincible martyr St,. Ueoiilii Ilia heavenly patrOH688, 

A. D. 1775. He prays, he heseeohes, he Implores, that he may 

merit a share in her happiness. 


over the holy city, and the treasures of her Basilicas 
were soon to fall into the hands of wicked men. The 
pontificate of Pius VI. was almost at an end, when 
the Directory of the French Kepublic, having con- 
ceived the odious project of deposing the Lord's 
anointed, announced to the Pontiff that Christian Home 
was condemned to destruction, and that nothing could 
avert its ruin but the greatest sacrifices. Pius VI., 
by the armistice of Milan, and soon after, by the 
treaty of Tolentino, was forced to cede a portion of 
his territory, to deliver up his most beautiful pictures 
and finest statuary, and to pay thirty-one million 

To satisfy this enormous demand, the Pontiff sent 
the treasures of gold and silver that still remained 
in the Castle of St. Angelo, and, moreover, added to 
them all the gold and silver ornaments belonging to 
the churches of Home. 

- We have read with much emotion in the archives 
of the Basilica of St. Cecilia, an order issued by the 
Cardinal Vicar, in the name of hi.:. Holiness, dated 
July 6th, 1796, to all the superiors of the churches 
in Rome, commanding, under the severest penalties, 
an inventory to be made of all the gold and silver 
plate entrusted to their keeping.* A document of 
later date, mentioned that on the seventeenth of that 
same month, the Abbess delivered up three hundred 
and ninety-five pounds of silver to the pontifi- 
cal commissary Livaldini ; on the 29th of August, 
sixty-nine pounds; and on the 9th of the following 
March, one hundred and sixty-nine.f 

* Archives of St. Cecilia. Lossier 94, No. 30. 
f Ibid., No. 31. 


This cruel spoliation, to which the Pontiff wag 
forced by extreme necessity, deprived the Basilica 
of its three precious caskets, in which Sfondrato had 
enclosed the heads of Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maxi- 
mus. These holy relics were then placed in the 
copper cylinders in which they have since remained. 
Besides the three caskets sent by the Abbess, there 
were silver chalices, candelabra, and other altar fur- 
niture ; the greater number of the reliquaries, pre- 
sented by Sfondrato, were merely bronze-gilt. 

Notwithstanding this enormous sacrifice, the 
liberty of the Pope was not long respected. In less 
than two years, the holy old man was dragged into 
exile. Then followed new spoliations of the churches 
of Eome, under the immediate supervision of the 
French authorities. We find in the Archives of St. 
Cecilia's Basilica, a French document, headed with 
the words Liberty, Equality, and dated 16 Ventose of 
the sixth year of the Republic. This document attested 
that the citizen Valette, charged by the financial 
administration of Italy, to receive the gold and- silver 
taken from churches, required the citizen Sebastian 
Bartoletti, a Eoman priest, to enumerate, upon 
oath, all the silver articles which remained in the 
Church and monastery of St. Cecilia, of which he was 

"We may form an idea of the state of destitution to 
which the sanctuary of St. Cecilia was thus reduced, 
and at the same time picture to ourselves the rapacity 
of the spoliators of Eome, by reading in this docu- 
ment the list of precious articles which were reluc- 
tantly left in the Basilica. They consisted of an 



altar cloth embroidered with gold, an ostensorium, 
four reliquaries, two chalices, and a censor. 

Whilst the trans-Tiberian Basilica was being thus 
despoiled of even its most trifling ornaments, the 
illustrious Cardinal, Hyacinth Sigismond Gerdil, to 
whose care the Pope had entrusted it, was, like 
the other members of the Sacred College, forced to 
leave Kome. This austere religious and eminent 
theologian, a worthy successor of so many great car- 
dinals, was renowned for his learning and virtue. 
He had successfully combated all the errors of his 
time, and had compiled the immortal Constitution 
Auctorem fidei which annihilated Jansenism. 

Gerdil was eighty years of age when thus forced 
to leave Kome and the pious sanctuary which had 
been committed to his care. We have read with 
deep emotion the autograph letter which he addressed, 
previous to his departure, to his dear daughters, the 
Abbess and Religious of St. Cecilia, whom he left 
exposed to every danger. This letter breathes 
throughout the most heroic resignation and paternal 
charity. After the miraculous election of Pius VII., 
at Venice, Gerdil returned to Kome and once more 
had the consolation of praying at Cecilia's tomb. 
But he was soon called to receive the recompense 
he had merited by his noble and holy life. He died 
on the 12th of August, 1802. 

Our Basilica, towards the end of the eighteenth 
century, shared in the general tribulations of the 
Church. We will close this chapter with a single 
incident characteristic of this epoch, no less fruitful 
in virtues than in crimes. We are confident that 


our readers honor the angelic memory of the amiable 
and pious Madame Elizabeth, sister of Louis XVI. 
This princess, whose murder was one of the greatest 
crimes of the French Eevolution, venerated St. Ce- 
cilia with special devotion. Perhaps she felt a secret 
presentiment that she too would one day add the rose 
of martyrdom to the lily of virginity. When her 
brother, the Count of Provence, before leaving 
France, bade adieu to his dearly loved sister, Eliza- 
beth presented him with a picture of St. Cecilia, en- 
treating him never to part with it. "I am aware," 
said she, " that your mind and heart have been mis- 
led by a false and dangerous philosophy. I trust 
that this holy martyr will obtain your conversion.* 
Elizabeth did not seek to escape from a country 
where a cruel fate awaited her. Her devoted attach- 
ment to the royal family did not suffer her to abandon 
them. She consoled the last moments of the Queen; 
and when her own turn arrived, she calmly ascended 
the scaffold, after encouraging with angelic words 
the numerous victims, who, one by one, preceded 
her to death on that mournful day. 



The nineteenth century opened with the elevation 
of Pius VII. During his pontificate, the churohea 

* Relation of a voyage to Brussels and Coblenti In 1791. 
Paris 1823. This pamphlet was written bj the Count of Pro- 
vence, afterwards Louis XV 111. 


resumed something of their ancient splendor, through 
the generosity and pious zeal of the faithful ; but 
long years must pass away, ere the Basilica of Saint 
Cecilia, despoiled of nearly all its riches, and im- 
poverished in its revenues, will again surround the - 
tomb of the saint with the magnificence it displayed in 
Sfondrato's time. Instead of a hundred lamps burn- 
ing day and night, there are now only fifty, and 
these are extinguished at sunset. The edifice itself 
was beginning to decay, and there was every reason 
to fear that the holy dwelling of Cecilia, which had 
been so frequently restored and embellished, would 
fall to ruins before the close of the century. Joseph 
Doria, who had been Secretary of State during the 
troubled pontificate of Pius VI., was now titulary of 
St. Cecilia. But the short time which elapsed between 
his nomination and the fresh troubles which fell upon 
the Church, was not sufficiently long to permit him 
to undertake, much less to execute, any repairs in 
the Basilica. He had been named Secretary of State 
to Pius VII.; but he did not remain long in this 
dangerous office. He was soon exiled to Genoa, in 
consequence of his fidelity to the sovereign Pontiff*. 
He died on the 10th of February, shortly after the 
return of Pius VII. to Eome. His nephew, Cardinal 
George Doria, succeeded him as Titulary of St. Ceci- 
lia, and profiting by the happy revolution which had 
restored to Eome her Pontiff* and Master, he deter- 
mined to devote his first care to the Basilica, which 
sadly needed restoring. He strengthened the arcades 
of the ground nave, consolidated the falling arch, 
and renewed the painting and gilding. The Abbess 


and religious of St. Cecilia, wishing to hand down to 
posterity, a remembrance of the pious munificence 
of George Doria, caused the following inscription to 
be engraved upon a marble tablet : 


















The Basilica thus restored, resumed its superiority 

* George Doria Pampliili, Cardinal Priest and Titulary of this 
church, caused to be restored at his own expense, for the divine 
office chanted here by sacred virgins, this august temple, dedi- 
cated to St. Cecilia, and formerly the house in which she lived. 
The remains of George, the great uncle, and of Joseph, the undo 
of the present Titulary, repose hero. Seeing that this sanctuary 
was falling to ruins, Cardinal Doria supported the arcades with 
brickwork, consolidated the arch, and restored to the church 
its primitive beauty. As a token of gratitude for the niuniti- 
cence of this eminent Cardinal, the Abbess and religious have 
caused this inscription to be engraved. 


over all the other churches of the city; and although 
still preserving traces of the cruel spoliation it had 
suffered, cheered by its splendor and elegance, the 
hearts of the pilgrims who visited the virgin's tomb. 
There were no events of any importance in the annals 
of St. Cecilia, until the disastrous days when Kome 
was profaned by sacrilege and revolt. No change 
was made in the trans-Tiberian Basilica during the 
pontificates of Leo XII., Pius VIII., and Gregory 
XVI.; under this last Pope, the church was en- 
trusted to the pious Cardinal James Louis Brignole, 
a Genoese, who, upon his elevation to the Suburbi- 
cary Church of Sabine, obtained permission to retain 
this Basilica in commendam, as Sfondrato and Aqua- 
viva had done. It was therefore under his adminis- 
tration, that the events w^e are about to relate, took 
place. We shall have occasion to admire the won- 
derful manner in which the holy martyr protected 
the house consecrated by her blood, and by the 
actual presence of her body. When, in November, 
1848, the angelic Pius IX. had been forced to seek 
safety in flight, the fury of his enemies vented itself 
upon churches and monasteries. The venerable 
sanctuary of St. Cecilia was not spared ; but nowhere 
throughout the holy city, was the protection of hea- 
ven more clearly or more constantly manifested. 
Before the arrival of the French army, the faction 
who governed the city, conceived the idea of taking 
away from the churches, some paintings which 
needed restoration, under the pretext of giving occu- 
pation to the artists. A party came to the Church 
of St. Cecilia, and took possession of the altar piece 


in the Chapel of the Bath. They were carrying it 
away in triumph, when an energetic band of Traste- 
verini, thinking they were despoiling the Basilica, 
suddenly rushed upon them, and by menaces which 
they would have carried into effect, forced them 
to return the picture they had so imprudently 
detached from the wall. In revenge, the minister of 
fine arts established his artists in this very chapel, 
with orders to restore the frescos of Paul Brill, which 
were in reality much defaced ; but which are now com- 
pletely destroyed, thanks to the pencils of these 
wretched artists. The tyrants of Rome had ordered 
that a number of the church bells should be taken 
down and cast into cannon for their service. The 
Basilica of St. Cecilia was one of the churches men- 
tioned, but it was protected in a most unlooked-for 
manner. The President of the trans-Tiberian region, 
Vincent Cortesi, obtained from the triumvirate that 
the bells should not be disturbed. His influence 
likewise obtained for the Monastery and the Basilica 
an exemption from the decree, ordaining an inventory 
of all church furniture and monastic property. 

The news that the French army was approaching, 
redoubled the rage of the factious party, while it in- 
creased the terror of peaceable citizens, who dreaded 
the horrors of a siege. On the 28th of April, 184 ( ,), 
the Benedictines of Campus Martius, begged admit- 
tance to the monastery of St. Cecilia, their convent 
having been seized by the republican administration 
and converted into barracks. 

The daughters of St. Cecilia received their sisters 
with the most heartfelt kindness, their mutual alloc- 


tion being increased by the common peril to which 
they were exposed ; and the two communities, hence- 
forth united in one, endeavored to assist each other 
in preparing for the trials in store for them. 

Three days had scarcely elapsed, when a troop of 
armed men broke into the convent, at midnight, 
under pretext of seeking for a concealed priest. 
These ruffians searched every part of the house, but 
not finding the priest, they departed, threatening the 
religious with every kind of cruelty, assuring them 
that these threats would soon be put into execution. 
A few days later, the republican commissary of the 
Trastever^ Eegion, accompanied by two of his 
satellites and a mason, forced his way into the 
convent and demanded the treasures which he 
declared the Titulary Cardinal had entrusted to the 
religious. He, and his companions, pierced the walls, 
broke open the doors, and examined all the furniture ; 
but found no treasure. Such unheard of outrages 
committed in a house of unprotected women, were 
but preludes to greater insults. On the 14th of May, 
two commissaries of the government, presented them- 
selves to the Abbess, Giuseppa Ben eggi, after having 
broken open the doors of the monastery. They com- 
pelled her to assemble all her religions in the parlor, 
and then, in the presence of these holy virgins, they 
read a decree of the triumvirate, annulling the vows 
of all religious, and declaring them free to return 
to the world. The daughters of St. Cecilia listened 
to this insolent and sacrilegious decree, with silent 
indignation, and the commissaries retired. 

The next evening, at ten o'clock, the commissary 



of the Trastevere Eegion, escorted by ten men, 
again entered the convent, and imperiously demanded 
the treasures of the Titulary Cardinal. After a fruit, 
less search, this man, furious at his non-success, 
summoned the Abbess before him, and told her that 
he considered her responsible for the missing treasures. 
He finally threatened to carry off the Abbess as a 
hostage, a menace which he would have executed, had 
not Providence interposed. 

The month of June having arrived, the French 
resolved to press the siege. The fury of the assault, 
as well as of the defence, was confined principally to 
the Trastevere Eegion. 

There was a constant cross fire from the Aventine 
Hill and the summit of Mount Janiculum, above the 
Basilica and Monastery of St. Cecilia. The balls 
struck against the august temple of the Eoman 
Virgin in every direction, and the religious, who 
had been successively driven from one room of the 
monastery to another, finally took refuge in that part 
of the building erected on the Piazza de Santa Cecila. 
Wehave seen, in the monastery, a heap of balls which 
were picked up in the garden, by the religious, after 
the siege. 

The intervention of heaven was marvellously shown 
by the miraculous preservation, not only of the reli- 
gious, but also of the Basilica. Not one of the sisters 
was injured, although the balls frequently pierced the 
walls of the rooms where they were assembled; 
whilst the Basilica, though exposed on all sides to 
bomb shells and balls was not damaged in the 
slightest degree 



Christ visibly protected this sacred house, and the 
virgins who dwelt under its roof, because the tomb 
of Cecilia His spouse, is ever dear to His heart. This 
was proved by the following incident. 

On the 10th of June, after one of the most fearful 
days of the siege, four religious had remained after 
matins in the tribune of the choir, directly in front 
of the main altar and of the Confession of St. Cecilia. 
They were the RR. MM. Donna Flavia Celeste 
Cecconi, Donna Electa Benedetti, Donna Gertrude 
Benedetti, and Donna Scholastica Rosa; the first three 
were exiles from St. Mary of the Campus Martins; 
the last belonged to the monastery of St. Cecilia. 
After the severe trials of the day, they remained to 
pray and to implore Almighty God to put an end to 
the disastrous events which were devastating the holy 
city. The Basilica was plunged in almost total dark- 
ness, the only light being that of four small tapers 
placed upon the upper balustrade, near the altar, on 
the Epistle side. 

The four sisters were praying devoutly, when their 
attention was attracted to the sanctuary, suddenly 
illuminated by a brilliant light, issuing from the 
crypt under the altar where Cecilia's body reposed. 
This light ascended slowly to the foot of the statue, 
crossed the altar on the Gospel side, and after reaching 
the tabernacle, again descended, and vanished. The 
marvellous apparition was repeated twice. The four 
sisters were so impressed at such an unexpected sight, 
that at first they did not venture to communicate their 
feelings to one another. The Sisters of St. Mary were 
the first to speak; turning towards Donna Scholastica 
Rosa, they said : " Do you see that light ? — " I do see 


it," replied the religions of St. Cecilia. " But what 
can it mean?" asked the other sisters." "I know 
not," answered Donna Scholastica, "let ns see if it w r ill 
reappear." A few moments after, the same brilliant 
light returned, and again ascending to the tabernacle, 
slowly descended, und disappeared as before. The 
Sisters remained a long time, respectfully waiting 
for another apparition; but the mysterious light 
appeared no more. This extraordinary fact, which 
we have heard from the lips of the above named 
religious, was certainly most significant. 

Who does not see in it a touching indication of 
Cecilia's prayers, ascending to her divine Spouse, inter- 
ceding for the cessation of the scourge and for the salva- 
tion of Eome and her Pontiff? The light emanated 
from the virgin's tomb like a fervent aspiration ; it 
ascended towards Him who alone can give peace, and 
returned to the tomb, after having obtained the favor 
it implored. What greater proof could there be of 
the intercession of the Saints in our favor; and does 
it not likewise show that this intercession is more 
readily granted when prayed for in the places where 
their bodies repose ? 

Cecilia was truly watching over the salvation and 
deliverance of her children in the trans-Tiberian 
regions; for the wonderful preservation of the Ba- 
silica and monastery could only be attributed to her 
powerful intercession. Their trials, however, were 
not yet at an end; Cecilia's vigilance was still 
required over her august temple and her devoted 

On the 15th of June, the Abbess received an im- 


perious order to leave the house within three hours, 
and to send some of her daughters to the monastery 
of St. Bernardin, the rest to that of St. Susanna. The 
military engineers had selected the Church and mon- 
astery of St. Cecilia as a point of defence from which 
they could return the enemy's fire. We may easily 
conceive the desolation into which the religious were 
plunged by this unexpected expulsion from the sanc- 
tuary, rendered doubly dear by the terrors, the heart- 
breakings, and the dangers of the preceding months. 
Their souls were oppressed with the sad prospect of 
the sacred temple exposed to frightful profanations, 
the body of Cecilia, their faithful patroness, aban- 
doned to these sacrilegious men,, the asylum of con- 
secrated virgins converted into a barrack ; the 
convent, within which they had practised the humble 
virtues of the cloister, and which they considered 
their home, desolated, perhaps destroyed, by the 
cannon of the besiegers, whilst they were wandering 
through the streets of the city. 

Tears and supplications would have been lost upon 
the agents of the triumvirate ; but Cecilia's protection 
was again sensibly felt. A private gentleman, Joseph 
Costa, who lived near the convent, and whose three 
daughters had been educated by the religious, inter- 
ceded in their favor. He obtained permission for the 
Sisters to remain in their house, only giving up the 
part of the building which faced the Janiculum. 

The religious immediately walled up the commu- 
nicating doors between the part of the building which 
they were forced to relinquish, and that which they 
were permitted to retain, and continued to trust in 


the power of their heavenly protectress. The pro- 
ject of converting the Basilica and monastery into 
a place of defence, was never carried into execution ; 
a sufficient proof that cupidity was the principal 
cause of this new vexation. In fact, two days later, 
some commissaries having thoroughly explored that 
part of the monastery given up to them, entered the 
Basilica about seven o'clock in the morning, with 
the intention of searching every where for the hidden 
treasures, of the Titulary Cardinal. As there was no 
one to oppose them, everything was to be feared from 
their audacity and avidity. The commissaries were 
accompanied by workmen, and they immediately 
commenced their search. Thinking that the trea- 
sures might be buried in the vault where the religious 
were interred, they hesitated not to violate this sacred 
place, and to disturb the ashes of the consecrated 
dead. Finding nothing in the first vault, they directed 
their steps to another, situated in the chapel of the 
Crucifix, and long used as a burial place for seculars. 
This search proved as unsuccessful as the former, 
and finally, after twelve hours of fruitless labor, the 
commissaries retired, uttering a thousand impre- 
cations against the religious, and threatening in their 
fury, to force the cloister of the monastery. Joseph 
Costa again interceded in behalf of the Sisters, and 
obtained a detachment of the civic guard for their 
protection. This guard continued in service until 
the taking of Eome, and were disbanded by General 
Oudinot on the very day of his triumphal entrance 
into the city. We will now close these annals of the 
Eoman virgin, hoping that by the mercy of Christ, 



they will be enriched throughout the course of time, 
for the consolation of Christianity and the honor of 
our invincible heroine. The Komans, especially 
those dwelling in the trans-Tiberian regions, pay her 
the most devoted homage, and she reigns over all 
Christendom as Queen of Harmony. 

It is true, that for more than a century, neither 
poet nor artist has laid at her feet a tribute worthy 
of her acceptance ; but this must be attributed to that 
general decline of true Catholic inspiration in the 
fine arts which commenced at a much earlier period. 
In France, another cause may be assigned, viz., the 
conspiracy of our hagiographers against the honor 
of the Saint. 

Better days are in store, when devotion to the 
Saints will become more lively and practical. All 
must acknowledge that little was thought of St. Eliza- 
beth of Hungary, until the pen of Montalembert had 
so vividly painted her beautiful virtues. Cecilia 
lived at a much earlier period, but her name has 
always been popular and her feast annually cele- 
brated. Christ will deign to glorify His Spouse still 
more. He will infuse new life into the homages paid 
her, and will incite the faithful to imitate her glorious 

What thanks do we not owe thee, Cecilia! for 
having permitted us to trace thy hallowed memory 
throughout sixteen ages; for having assisted us in 
our narration, and above all, for the favor thrice 
repeated of prostrating ourselves before thy august 
tomb, and celebrating the Sacrifice of the Lamb, thy 
Spoase, upon the altar which covers and protects thy 


In the first of these pilgrimages, we conceived the 
idea of rendering thee this public homage of our ten- 
der veneration; of consecrating to thy glory this 
humble work as a memorial of the holy joy we have 
experienced when kneeling at thy feet. Deign, O 
Virgin, Apostle, Martyr, amidst the many gifts offered 
at thy Confession by purer hands than ours, to accept 
this feeble tribute of our love ! 

Angels alone can worthily celebrate thy praise, O 
Spouse of Christ ! We can but address thee in the 
trembling accents of fallen and sinful humanity. 

Deign to look favorably upon us, O glorious queen! 
from the throne of glory whereon thou sittest, clothed 
with the dazzling robe of which the Psalmist speaks. 
Vouchsafe to accept our humble offering.* 

Deign also to hear our prayer for that holy Church, 
whose glory and support thou art. 

In the profound night of the present century, the 
Spouse delays His coming. Amidst the solemn 
silence, He permits the virgin to slumber until the 
day of His advent.f We honor thy repose upon thy 
mysterious couch, rendered glorious by thy victories, 
O Cecilia ! but we know that thou dost not forget 
us ; for thus speaks the Spouse in the sacred Canticle : 
" I sleep, but my heart watches 1"$ 

The hour approaches when the Spouse will appear, 
and rally his followers around the standard of the 
Cross. Soon the cry will be heard : " Behold the 
bridegroom cometh; go ye forth to meet him."§ 

* Psalms xliv. 2. 

f Moram autem faciente sponso, dorinitavorunt ouines (vir- 
gines) et dormierunt. Matth. xxv. 5. 

t Cant., v. 2. § Matt. xxv. 6. 


O Cecilia ! then wilt thou exclaim to the Christians of 
our generation, as thou formerly didst to the faithful 
band, who surrounded thee in the hour of combat: 
" Soldiers of Christ, cast off the works of darkness 
and clothe yourselves with the armor of light !"* 

The Church daily pronounces thy name with love 
and confidence in the most sacred part of her Myste- 
ries, firmly confiding in thy assistance, 0, Cecilia! 
which she knows will never fail her. Eaise up 
Christian hearts to the contemplation of those eternal 
truths which they too often forget in their vain 
pursuit of those earthly vanities, which held captive 
the heart of Tiburtius, until thy sublime eloquence 
had undeceived his noble soul. Thus wilt thou 
prepare the triumph of the Church ; for when thoughts 
of eternity shall predominate in the heart of man, 
then will the salvation and the peace of nations be 

Our task is accomplished : we must now resume 
less pleasing labors. Mayest thou. Cecilia ! ever 
be the delight of the Heavenly Spouse. Mayest thou 
ever breathe the divine perfume of his roses and lilies, 
and be charmed with the ineffable harmony of His 
Sacred Heart. From thy throne of glory, watch 
over us during life ; aid us at the hour of death, and 
bear our souls to their immortal home. There shall 
we behold thee, crowned with glory, and radiant 
with ineffable happiness ; and in the light of that re- 
fulgent vision, we shall comprehend the exalted excel- 
lence of Virginity, Apostolic zeal, and Martyrdom. 

* Eia milites Christi, abjicite opera tenebrarum et induamini 
arma lucis. Acta S. Ccecilice. 


The following are the two Hymns in honor of 
St. Cecilia which His Holiness has approved foi 
Liturgical use* 



tiam ad Vesperas, quoties festum transferatur. 


Terrena cessent organa, 
Cor cestuans CsBcilise 
Coeleste fundit canticum, 
Deoque totum jubilat 

Dum nuptiali nobilis 
Domus resultat gaudio ; 
Haeo sola tristis candido 
Geinit columba pectore. 

O Christe mi dulcissime, 
Cui me sacravit charitas, 
Serva pudoris integram, 
Averte labem corpore. 

Ovis leonem sedula 

Agnum facit mitissimum ; 

Hie fonte lotus mystico 

Coclo repente militat. . ,. 


Solvit Tiburtium soror 
Erroris e caligine, 
Factoque fratris asseclae 
Ad astra pandit semitam. 

Seges per illam plurima 
Superna replet horrea : 
Verbo potens, fit particeps 
Apostolorum gloriae. 

Delapsus arce siderum 
Illam tuetur Angelus, 
Rosceque mixtse liliis 
Ambire crines gestiunt. 

Sertum rubens et candidum 
Affertur una conjugi, 
Quern castitatis semulum 
Co3lestis ardor efficit. 

Te sponse Jesu, virginum 
Beata laudent agmina 
Patrique cum Paraclito 
Par sit per aevum gloria 



Nunc ad coronas pergite, 
Clamat suis Caecilia ; 
Mox ipsa Virgo sistitur 
Ad judicis praetorium. 

Minantis iram despicit, 
Et falsa ridet numina ; 
Jam morte digna ducitur 
Puella culpoe nescia. 

Inclusa perstat balneo, 
Ardent calore fornices ; 
Ast urit intus Virginem 
Divinus ignis fortior. 


Intaminatam barbarus 
Ter ense lictor percutit ; 
Scelus tamen non perficit, 
Christus moras dat Martyri. 

Horse supremse proxima, 
Deo sacrandas devovet 
iEdes avitas, libera, 
Volatque ad Agni nuptias. 

Salveto, corpus Martyris 
Diu sub antris abditum I 
Nova refulgens gloria 
Romae parents redderis. 

Ne fios tenebris areat, 
Te Virgo servat virginum ; 
Rubens cruoris purpura, 
Stola micante cingeris. 

Dormi silenti marmore, 
Dum sede laetus caelica 
Indulget hymnis spiritus, 
Votisque dexter annuit. 

Te sponse Jesu, virginum 
Beata laudant agmina ; 
Patrique cum Paraclito 
Par sit per oevum gloria. 



Ordinis Sancti Benedicti in Galliis. 

Oertamen apprime forte disposuit Deus in Urbe 
inclyta) Virgin i et Marty ri sancto Coecilia3, quae dum 
in Christianas religionis proposito Deo dovotam virgi- 
nitatem saam siugulari Angeli prsesidio incontami- 



natam servare promeruit, illud insimul obtinuit, ut 
verae fidei lumine collustrati Valerianus sponsus sibi 
datus, ej usque frater Tiburtius, in libera religionis 
ipsius confessione ad mortem usque immobiles per- 
severarent, et gloriae corona redimiti coelitum felicitate 
potirentur, donee et ipsa Dominum Regem Salvatorem 
collaudare non desinens, innumeris superatis tor men- 
tis, iisdem sociaretur in perpetuas aeternitates triumph- 
atura. Sanctae Caeciliae cultus longe iateque diffusus, 
quum in dies magis in Gallia inclareat, praesertim 
penes alumnos Ordinis Sancti Benedict! ibi degentes, 
Eeverendissimus Pater Domnus Prosper Gu&ranger, 
Abbas Solesmensis, constituit in divina Psalmodia 
ejusdem Sanctae laudes ampliori solemnitate corn- 
memorari; ac proinde Sanctissimo Domino Nostro 
Pio IX. Pontifici Maximo supplicavit enixe, ut pro 
alumnis sui Ordinis in Gallia adprobare dignaretur 
Hymnos proprios in honorem sanctae Caeciliae Officio 
ipsius addendos. Sanctitas Sua hujusmodi preces 
peramanter excipiens, referente me subscripto Sacro- 
rum Rituum Congregationis Pro-Secretario, de spec- 
iali gratia benigne annuit juxta preces, propositosque 
Hymnos proprios Officio sanctae Caeciliae Virginia 
Martyris a Benedictinis in Gallia addendos, uti 
superiore in exemplari adnotantur adprobavit, die 
duodecima Februarii M dccc lii 


Locus Sigilli 

S, R. C. Prcefectus. 

Dom. Grigli. S. R. C. Pro-Seer, 



216 South Third Street, Philadelphia. 

J0^» The attention of the Public is respectfully called to the following CATA- 
LOGUE of popular Catholic Works. 

Jggjp" In consequence of the variation in the price of materials for book-making, 
the following prices are liable to change as occasion requires. 


lie Year of Mary; or, Tlie True Servant of 
the Blessed Virgin. 

Translated from the French of Rev. M. D'Arville, Apostolic Prothonotary, 
and published with the approbation of the Right Rev. Bishop of Phila- 
delphia, the Most Rev. Archbishop of Baltimore, and the Most Rev. Arch~ 
bishop of New York. 1 neat 12mo volume. 

Price— In cloth $1.50 

In gilt edges 2.00 

This is a delightful book ; brimful of sweet flowers ; a lovely garland in 
honor of Mary our Mother and powerful intercessor before the throne of her 

Well has the Magnificat said, "all generations shall call me blessed;" all 
times, and in all lands, wherever the symbol, upon which her Divine Son 
ransomed a wicked and undeserving world with his excruciating sufferings and 
death, has a votary, her name, spotless and beautiful, shall be pronounced with 
reverence, and her protection implored. 

The tome before us is a collection of the honors paid to Mary by the groat 
and good of all lands; by those who, with the diadem of earthly grahdeur 
adorning their brows, and vexed political commonwealths to guard and pacify, 
found time to honor the daughter of St. Anne, the beloved Mother of our Lord 
and Saviour. 

Buy the book. Read one or two pages. We promise a feast, a desire to read 
the whole, a determination to do so. — Catholic Telegraph. 

This work is divided into seventy-two Exorcises, corresponding with the 
number of years which the Blessed Virgin passed on earth, with a consecration 


4 Published by Peter F. Cunningham, 

to Mary of the twelve months of the year, in reference to her virtues ; also a 
method of using certain of the Exercises by a way of devotion for the "Month. 
of Mary," a No vena in honor of the Immaculate Conception, and other matters 
both interesting and advantageous to the true servant of Mary, and those who 
would become *). 

" Baltimore, April 6, 1865. 

"We willingly unite with the Ordinary of Philadelphia and the Metropolitan 
of New York in approving 'The Year of Mary,' republished by Peter F. Cun- 
ningham, of Philadelphia. 


"Archbishop of Baltimore." 

A work presented to the Catholics with such recommendations does not need 
any word of encouragement from us. — Pilot. 

This work meets a want long ungratified. The devotional Exercises which 
make up the book are ingeuiously arranged in reference, 1st, to each year of the 
Blessed Virgin's long residence on earth ; 2d, to every Sunday and festival 
throughout the year. The Exercises are therefore seventy-two in number, cor- 
responding to the generally received belief of the duration of her terrestrial life. 

The First Exercise is thus appropriated to the Immaculate Conception, and 
may be used both for the 8th of December and for the first day of the year. 
The seventy-second celebrates the Assumption, and maybe profitably read on 
the loch of August, and on the last day of the year. 

Each Instruction is prefaced by a text from holy writ, and followed by an 
example, a historical fact, a practice and a prayer. 

The Approbations are: 

1st. By the Roman Theological Censor. 

2d. By a favorable letter from his Holiness Gregory XVI. 

3d. By the recommendatory signatures of the Archbishops of Baltimore and 
New York, and the Bishop of Philadelphia. 

This Devotional is a deeply interesting and practical manual, and Mrs. Sadlier, 
who has very skilfully reduced the originally free translation into graceful con- 
formity to the original, has rendered the Christian public a most essential ser- 
vice. We wish it the widest circulation. — N. Y. Tablet. 

"The Year of Mary*' is one of the most beautiful tributes to the Mother of 
God that a Catholic family could desire to have. We are free, however, to 
confess our partiality in noticing any book that treats of the pre-eminent glory 
of her whom God exalted above all created beings. 

But, independently of this consideration, the present volume can be recom- 
mended on its own special merits. Besides being replete with spiritual instruc- 
tion, it presents a detailed account of the life of the Blessed Virgin from the 
Conception to the Assumption, and views her under every possible aspect, both, 
as regards herself and her relations with man. It lays down the rules by 
which we are to be guided in our practical devotions towards her ; displays its 
genuine characteristics, and indicates the sublime sentiments by which we 
ought to be actuated when we pay her our homage, or invoke her assistance. 

"The Year of Mary" contains seventy-two Exercises, in accordance with the 
received opinion of the Church that the Blessed Virgin lived that number of 
years on earth. In these instructions, the reader shall learn her life, her pre- 
rogatives, her glory in Heaven, and her boundless goodness to mankind. We 
would like to see this book in every Catholic family in the c mntry. It is impos- 
sible for us to honor the Mother of God sufficiently well. But in reading this 
book, or any like it, we must ever bear in mind that acts, not mere professions 
of piety, should be the distinctive marks of "the true servant of the Blessed 
Virgin," and that she is really honored, only in so far as we imitate her virtues 
for the sake of Him through whom alone we can hope for eternal life. 

The name of Mrs. Sadlier is familiar to the public; her talents as an authoress 
are too well known to need any eulogy here ; she is an accomplished lady, and 
has faithful y done her part. As to the publisher, Mr. Cunningham, we Fay, 
without flattery, that he has done a good work in presenting this excellent 
book to his fellow-Catholics, and with all our heart we wish him the fullest 
measure of success to which this noble enterprise entitles him.— -The Monthly. 

216 South Third Street, Philadelphia. 5 

epilations of §!• Ignatius 5 or, '* The Spiri- 
tual Exercises" expounded; 

By Father Siniscalchi, of the Society of Jesus. 

Published with the approbation of the Right Rev. Bishop of Philadelphia. 
1 vol. 12mo. 

Price— Neatly bound in cloth, gilt back $1.50 

The fame of the great founder of the Society of Jesus, would itself insure the 
character of the above book of meditations, as one of the most meritorious kind. 
But the greater part of Catholics of all nations have been made familiar with 
the nature, object, and efficiency of these meditations in the Spiritual Retreats 
conducted by tho Fathers of this Society, in every language, in every ^country, 
and almost every town of Christendom. We are glad to see this valuable work 
published in our country and tongue, and feel assured it will be heartily 
welcomed by the multitudes who are familiar with it, if in no other way, at 
least from the free use which is made of it in the Jesuit Missions, forming, 
as it does, the basis of all those inspiriting exercises which constitute a 
spiritual retreat. — Catholic Mirror. 

This is the first American edition of this celebrated work, which has been 
translated into nearly all tho European languages. It supplies a want long 
felt in America. It is an excellent book of Meditations for the family, but it is 
particularly adapted for those attending Retreats or Missions, especially those 
given by the Jesuits, whose method this is. We cannot too strongly recommeud 
this book to the Catholic public. — N&.& York Tabtet. 

This is a timely publication of the Meditations of St. Ignatius, and the Catholic 
community are indebted to the Philadelphia publisher for bringing the work 
within their reach. In Europe, where it is well known, it would be superfluous 
to do more than call attention to the fact of a new edition being published ; but 
inasmuch as American Catholics have not had an opportunity of becoming very 
familiar with the work, it may not be out of place to say a few words concern- 
ing it. 

The Meditations are twenty-two in number, each divided into three parts, and 
in each division the subject is viewed, as it were, from a different point of view, 
the last being always the most striking. Death, Judgment, Hell, and Heaven, 
the Mysteries of the Saviour's Life, and the Happiness of Divine Love — these 
are the subjects of the Saint's meditations, and every consideration germain to 
such topics calculated to excite the feelings or influence the judgment, is brought 
before the reader in simple, forcible language, or impressed on the mind by 
means of a striking anecdote or opposite illustration. The volume is thickly 
strewn with quotations from sacred and patritic writings, and the whole range 
of profane history is laid under contribution to furnish material wherewith to 
point a moral or enforce a truth. 

No Catholic family should be without this book, and no Catholic library 
should be depending on one copy. It is a noble edition to the ever-increasing 
stock of Catholic devotional literature, and we hope tho publisher's judicious 
venture will be successful. We must not omit to mention that the publication 
has received the official sanction of the Right Rev. Bishop of Philadelphia. — 
Metropolitan Record. 

k!?acerdos Sancfificatug ; or, Discourses on 
the Mass and Office, 

With a Preparation and Thanksgiving before and after Mass for every 
day in tho week Translated from the Italian of St. Alphousus Ligouri, 

By the Rev. James Jones. 
1 vol. 18mo. 

trice— Neatly bound in cloth, gilt edgcj $1.00 

6 Published by Peter F. Cunningham, 

I. lie Life of St. Cecilia, 

Virgin and Martyr. 

Translated from the French of Father Guerauger, and published with the 
approbation of the Right Rev. Bishop of Philadelphia. 
1 vol. 12mo. 

Price— In cloth $1.50 

In cloth, gilt edge 2.00 





he Ufe of St. Teresa. 

Written by herself. 

Translated from the Spanish, by Rev. Canon Dalton, and published with 
the approbation of the RigJU Rev. Bishop of Philadelphia. 1 vol. 
12mo., neatly bound in cloth. 

j/rice— In cloth $1.50 

In cloth, gilt edge 2.00 

lie Life of St. Catherine of Sienna. 

By Blessed Baymond of Capua, her Confessor. 

Translated from the French, by the Ladies of the Sacred Heart. With 
the approbation of the RigJU Rev. Bishop of Philadelphia. 1 vol. 
12mo., neatly bound in cloth. 

Price— In cloth $1.50 

In cloth, gilt edge 2.00 

ife of St. Margaret of Cortona. 

Translated from the Italian, by John Gilmary Shea, and published with 
the approbation of the Right Rev. Bishop of Philadelphia. 1 vol. 16mo., 
neatly bound in cloth, gilt backs. 

Price 80 cents. 

lie Life of St. Angela Merici of Brescia, 
Foundress of the Order of St. Ursula. 

By the Abby Parenty. 

With a History of the Order in Ireland, Canada and the United States, 
by John Gilmary Shea. Published with the approbation of the Right 
Rev. Bishop of Philadelphia. 1 vol. IGmo., cloth, gilt back. 

Price '. 80 cents. 

lie Life of Blessed Mary Ann of Jesus, 

de Parades y Flores. "The Lily of Quito." 
By Father Joseph Boero, S. J. 

Translated from tho Italian by a Father of the Society of Jesus, and pub- 
lished with the approbation of the Right Rev. Bishop of Philadelphia. 
1 vol. lbmo., neatly bound in cloth, gilt back. 

Price 80 cents. 

Deacidified using the Bookkeeper process. 
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Treatment Date: March 2006 



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